About Us

Kern Delta Water District (KDWD) was formed in 1965, pursuant to the provisions of California Water District Law, to serve as a contracting agency for importing State Water Project (SWP) water through the Kern County Water Agency (KCWA) and to protect existing Kern River water rights serving the landowners within its boundaries. KDWD owns, operates and maintains physical infrastructure and develops and implements plans to support the management of surface water and groundwater resources. KDWD’s service area includes 128,960 acres of primarily irrigated agricultural lands, overlapping with some southern areas of the City of Bakersfield.

In 1972, KDWD contracted with KCWA to secure 25,500 acre-feet per year (AFY) of SWP Table A water. At the time, KDWD did not have facilities to convey SWP water to its service area. However, KDWD did have access to Kern River water via canals owned by Kern Island Water Company that ran through its proposed service area. Thus, in 1972, KDWD entered into a water exchange agreement with Buena Vista Water Storage District (Buena Vista WSD) to trade its annual SWP entitlement for an equal amount of Kern River water. Shortly thereafter, KDWD also entered into a water distribution agreement with Kern Island Water Company for the use of its canals to transport and percolate exchange water.

Acquisition of Kern Island Water Company

The Kern Island Water Company (KIWC) was formed in 1966 in accordance with a directive of the Public Utilities Commission. The formation of KIWC was the result of a merger of five canal companies: Kern Island Canal Company, Farmers Canal Company, Stine Canal Company, Buena Vista Canal Company, and East Side Canal Company. These canal companies, with the exception of the East Side Canal Company, had pre-1914 appropriative rights to divert water from the Kern River. KIWC inherited all historical agreements for delivery and allocation of water held by each of the five canal companies.

In 1976, KDWD acquired KIWC from the City of Bakersfield, including all of its facilities and its water rights to diversions from the Kern River. The service areas of KDWD and KIWC largely overlapped.


Kern River – Pre-1914 preserved entitlement = approximately 205,000 af/yr long term average;

State Water Project = 25,500 af/yr Table A (long term average of 16,000 af/yr);

Friant = High flow when available;



Wheat, Almonds, Corn, Alfalfa, Pistachios, Sorghum Milo, Cotton, Carrots, Potatoes, Table Grapes