The KWBA had to construct significant infrastructure to turn the KFE lands into a functioning water bank. This infrastructure included approximately 7,000 acres of recharge ponds, 85 recovery wells, 36 miles of pipeline, and a 6-mile long canal.
The recharge ponds are shallow – only a few feet deep – and were constructed by building a low level on the downslope sides of each pond. The upslope sides of the ponds simply follow the existing topography, creating a very natural wetland habitat. Simple structures control the flow between the ponds.
The recovery wells average about 750-feet deep and produce as much as 5,000 gallons per minute of water. They are distributed throughout the water bank and spaced 1/3 of a mile or more apart. The 16- to 20-inch diameter wells are powered with electric motors.
Small-diameter (15” to 36”) PVC pipelines were installed to transport water recovered from wells to existing canals or, in some cases, to large-diameter (60”) high-density polyethylene pipelines. Approximately 28 miles of small-diameter and 5 miles of large-diameter pipeline have been constructed. The large-diameter pipelines were installed in lieu of surface canals in part to preserve the connectivity of the habitat.
The Kern Water Bank Canal was constructed to convey water both to the water bank ponds for recharge purposes and from the water bank wells for recovery purposes. The canal extends 6 miles from the Kern River on the east to the California Aqueduct on the west. Associated structures include headworks at the Kern River, a 100 CFS pump station serving the River Area, a crossing under Enos Lane, a check structure, a 545 CFS pump station serving the eastern portions of the Kern Water Bank, and diversion facilities at the California Aqueduct. The design utilizes an existing Interstate 5 undercrossing. The canal is earthen lined and has gentle side slopes to better accommodate wildlife.