The proposed Kettleman Reservoir aims to reconstruct a portion of the old Tulare Lake bed to restore depleted groundwater supplies. However, officials who are concerned about long term implications of the project oppose the proposal, which was set forth by the Semitropic Water Storage District.
Once the largest body of freshwater in the western states, Tulare Lake held snowmelt from dozens of Sierra Nevada streams. The lake is now gone, the cool blue water replaced by farmland. Today, officials are searching for a solution to effectively recharge groundwater supplies, which those farms have overused.
Semitropic Water Storage District has proposed building a new reservoir on a portion of the old Tulare Lake bed near Kettleman City in Kern County, California. The proposal calls for building eight-foot-high levees capable of storing up to 30,000 acre feet of water coming from unallocated floodwaters in the Kings River and additional tributaries flowing from Kings County. The water captured would directly recharge groundwater and also be pumped into a groundwater storage bank.
Although the project aims to improve local groundwater supplies, many individuals involved have concerns about the feasibility of the proposed reservoir.