The Kern County Water Agency is turning 50 next week, and on Friday, October 21st, they will host Vision 2061, an educational event bringing together leaders from all levels of government. In fact, the luncheon’s keynote speaker is Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Whip. Also joining the day’s agenda is Congressman Jim Costa. Together, the attendees and panelists will reflect upon the last 50 years while planning for the next half century.

The first scheduled panel for the day will look back over the first 50 years of the Water Agency’s existence. Specifically, the panelists will discuss the evolution of the State Water project (SWP) and how agencies have worked to meet the State’s evolving water needs and changing environmental regulations.

The SWP is not a static project operating the same today as it did on the day it began. It now provides water to two-thirds of the state’s residents, some 25 million people, and three-quarters of a million acres of agricultural land. In fact, when the SWP was originally designed, California didn’t even have 25 million residents. This panel will focus on three examples of how the SWP has evolved over the past 50 years.

Two other panels will focus first on the immediate challenges facing not only the Kern County Water Agency, but also water agencies all over the state. They will then discuss the next fifty years. That conversation will involve discussions of the SWP as well as the Central Valley Project and how the two could one day merge.

The highlight for many will be the keynote address, delivered by Congressman McCarthy. Water issues and the Central Valley have long been one of the Congressman’s central issues, and with his work at the local, state, and federal level, his address should be as far reaching as it is insightful.

The event, which runs for 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. is free and includes lunch. But act fast; registration closes Monday.

For more information, go to the Vision 2061 website.