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The 2020 Water Association of Kern County Water Summit March 4, 2020

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On March 4, 2020 at the Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, CA from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. the Water Association of Kern County is holding its 2020 Water Summit. We all have lots of meetings, trade shows and events to attend; but it’s my considered belief you get as much or more bang out of your buck at a WAKC Water Summit as any three similar gatherings you could grab and duct-tape together.

For one thing there are unusual opportunities to meet people. It’s an event big enough to attract serious players in the water community but small enough get to make contact with others. There are supporters and sponsors with deep and abiding interest in water policy, science and its interaction with the wider world. WAKC Executive Director Beth Pandol and her board work tirelessly to fulfill the Association’s goals.

According to the Water Association of Kern County was formed in 1955 and originally designed to educate the citizens of Kern County about the need for the construction of the State Water Project (California Aqueduct). The organization’s goal was to keep the public well informed about activities and issues related to water and on the continuing need for a reliable water supply to Kern County.

Over the years, the WAKC evolved to include outreach and activities that provided information about many water topics including: federal, state and local water projects; water quality; legislation and regulations; historical water agreements; water supply; endangered species;’ the Kern River; water banking; conservation; water development and many other water-related topics. The WAKC has frequently utilized radio and television to convey messages.

The Annual Water Summit is one of the best outreach and education efforts produced by the Association. Here’s a line-up of what you can expect:

Species Status: A panel discussion on how California is managing endangered species

Ellen Hanak, Vice President and Director of the Water Policy Center and Senior Fellow Ellen Hanak Chair in Water Policy, Public Policy Center

Ann Hayden, Senior Director, Western Water & Resilient Landscapes Ecosystems Program, Environmental Defense Fund

Julie Vance, Regional Manager (Region 4), California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Sandi Matsumoto, Associate Director, The CA Water Program, The Nature Conservancy

Cannon Michael, Bowles Farming Co., Water Education Foundation

Moderator: Paul Weiland, Attorney, Nossaman LLP

The Magic Water Wand: A high powered, out-of-the box panel discussion on fixing California’s water challenges.

Tim Quinn – Retired, Association of California Water Agencies, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Stanford Program on Water in the West

Celeste Cantu – Vice Chair of the Water Quality Control Board, San Diego Region and The Water Solution Network

Felicia Marcus – Former Chair, State Water Resources Control Board

Jerry Meral – Former California Department of Water Resources, Planning and Conservation League, Environmental Defense Fund

Randy Fiorini, Fiorini Ranch, Bay Delta Stewardship Council

Moderator: Harry Starkey, Director of Water Resources Development, The Hallmark Group

The King Has No Clothes – The Case for the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint

Eric Averett, Manager, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District

Scott Hamilton, Hamilton Resource Economics

A New Decade: More of the Same for Water Suppliers?

Justin Skarb, Director of Governmental Affairs, California Water Service

Oil and Water: An Update from California’s Energy Industry

Christine Luther Zimmerman, Technical and Regulatory Affairs, Western States Petroleum Association

Keynote Address

Infrastructure – What’s on tap for California

Armando Quintero, Chair, California Water Commission

  1. Check-in and breakfast begin at 7 a.m. The conference starts at 8 a.m.
  2. Parking is behind the arena, to the south.
  3. Enter Mechanics Bank Arena at the west side of the building on N St. The front doors off Truxtun Avenue will not be open.
  4. The conference is held on the wooden arena floor, which is over an ice rink. The floor can get a bit chilly so we recommend that you wear a shoe/boot with socks. We recommend that you don’t go without socks. We will have some rubber pads available to place under your feet if needed.
  5. The conference ends at 2 p.m.


Do yourself and our community a favor, be sure to attend the Water Summit and support the Water Association of Kern County.

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