Kern County’s water accounting platform tracks use like finances

By Michael Pineda

The value of water is taken for granted by most and held in the utmost respect by those who make a living off the land.

The Water Accounting Platform developed by the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District along with stakeholder partners have allowed growers to keep track of water usage much like they would financial information. District General Manager Eric Averett provided an explanation of the system and how it is used.

“So, it’s kind of an online bank account if you will, where landowners in my district have the ability to log in to a unique portal and access information related to their water budget online,” Averett told Agnet West. “It’s very much like if you log into your financial institution and you want to look at what your balance is. So the district will add or allocate the various water supplies that are available to the landowners and that shows up kind of, if you will, as a revenue.”

Located in Kern County, the platform allows landowners to log in to their parcel and see how much water is being used per month. Comparisons can be drawn with prior usage. The information is seen in near real-time, giving landowners access to a new wealth of information to base decisions on.

“You can log in to your parcel and look and see how much water you’ve used per month. It updates on a real-time basis— real-time in the sense that I think we’re three weeks behind,” Averett told Agnet West.

The water storage district itself benefits from the Kern River and recharges nearly all of its water supplies into its aquifer. The district reported that it services 27,500 acres of irrigated agriculture. The district is situated for the recharge and storage of water. Once landowners look at their accounts they can react accordingly and use the platform to engage other landowners.

“They use the platform to kind of inform the decisions that they will make in respect to how much water will I have, do I have enough for my next irrigation, do I need to maybe buy more water or maybe I will be in a surplus position and I might be able to sell water,” Averett told Agnet West.