Court Grants Preliminary Injunction to keep Water in the Kern River


Today, the Kern County Superior Court granted Water Audit California’s and other
joint plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction that prevents the City of Bakersfield from
making diversions in a manner that habitually dries the Kern River.

Finding that Plaintiffs’ are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim, and after weighing
potential harms to the respective parties in this case, the Court concluded that the California Legislature
has already considered competing uses of water when it passed Fish and Game Code, section 5937 and
thus determined that enough water must be allowed to remain in a waterway, that at a minimum, keeps
fish in good condition.

Compliance with Section 5937 is required as a matter of law. Courts have a duty to uphold the
law and no entities can be excepted from compliance with the law, even if compliance is burdensome.
Therefore, “Defendant City of Bakersfield and its officers, directors, employees, agents, and all
persons acting on its behalf are prohibited from operating the Beardsley Weir, the Rocky Point Weir, the
Calloway Weir, the River Canal Weir, the Bellevue Weir, and the McClung Weir in any manner that
reduces Kern River flows below the volume sufficient to keep fish downstream of said weirs in good
condition. Defendant and Plaintiff shall engage in good faith consultation to establish flow rates
necessary for compliance with this order.” The full decision of the Court is attached here.

The preliminary injunction motion was brought by Plaintiffs Water Audit CaliforniaBring Back the KernKern River Parkway FoundationKern Audubon SocietySierra Club, and Center for Biological Diversity.

For further comment, contact counsel for Water Audit California William McKinnon,
([email protected]; mobile 530.575.5335), and for the community groups Adam Keats,
([email protected], mobile: 415.845.2509).