Lengthy Friant-Kern Dewatering Process Is Nearing An End
A three-and-a-half month Friant Water Authority maintenance blitz that featured an all-out battle against a voracious aquatic weed known as Western water milfoil has come to an end.
For the first time since late October, water began to be released into the Friant-Kern Canal from Friant Dam on February 5.
WATER QUALITY TESTS
Water quality tests must be made to ensure public health and safety in the wake of late December applications of a “cocktail” mixed from two chemicals sprayed in infested sections of the dewatered canal, with the primary battleground being the Orange Cove region.
Ronald D. Jacobsma, FWA General Manager, said it is hoped the canal will be back in service with water deliveries restored by February 15-20.
Western water milfoil is an invasive perennial aquatic plant that over the past few years has reduced the canal’s conveyance capacity and causing water delivery problems that have extended from Orange Cove into Kern County.
Chemical treatment was attempted because previous attempts at mechanical removal had little effect.
Jacobsma said the final chemical treatment phase was completed when just the right amount of rainfall occurred to incorporate the chemicals into the soil.
It will be summer before the FWA can begin to evaluate the program’s success.
Authority crews also completed a large amount of major maintenance and repair work, including replacement of failed concrete liners and rehabilitation of several turnouts and check structures.
The aquatic weed treatment process required a longer and more complicated Friant-Kern Canal dewatering schedule than is typically required for maintenance.