Earlier this week we took a deep dive into the Lake Isabella Dam and it’s ability to contain the water expected from current rains that are heavier than anything seen in the valley for more than 20 years.

Today, we’ll take a look at where that water goes once it’s collected in the lake, then released into the Kern River.

We’ve all seen the water at Beach Park rising, and many people are wondering where does it go? Can we bank it and save it for the lean water years like we have had in Kern County for more than 20 years? Or does it just follow canals and rivers until is gets lost in the ocean.

The California Department of Water Resources says it will bank some of the storm water by recharging groundwater basins, and deliver 75% of the water requested, up from the 35% announced in February, and that will send an additional 1.7 million acre feet to 29 public water agencies that serve 27 million Californians.

Another thing people have wondered, is does the heavy water arrival mean we are no longer in a drought? Or is it true that it will take similar rains and snowfall over a period of years before we can say it’s over?

The State Department of Water Resources says the record snowpack is one of the largest ever and has brought some relief to the drought. But it will also bring higher lake levels and swifter currents in lakes and rivers so we should keep that in mind during our summer recreation.

The issue of local flooding has also come up, as many intersections in Kern County have already been underwater and closed for days at a time and preparations are currently being made in case there is more unwanted water. Mudslides and rockslides have also been an issue. Farmers have not been able to work their fields, beekeepers are losing their hives and word has it that more rain is headed our way.

But with the recent improvements to Lake Isabella that took years to complete, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say at least a dam break or overflowing is not likely, taking at least that potential problem off the table.

-Tony Lee