Kings River swells in some areas, deflated by low levels in other areas

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The Kings River near Kingsburg Tuesday afternoon had high levels and fast flows after releases at Pine Flat Dam. (KFSN)

The Kings River near Kingsburg Tuesday afternoon had high levels and fast flows after releases at Pine Flat Dam. It forced the Tulare County Sheriff's Office to issue a closure-- meaning no recreational activities in the river for the time being.

As you travel farther downstream, into Kings County, the Clark's Fork of the Kings River is calm, and certainly not as high.

"As you can see, we have no water in our river but everybody else is flooding, it makes no sense," said Kevin Hamilton, Kings County resident.

Hamilton's house lies just south of the river. There is water now, but he said up until this year, there had not been any for five years. He thinks there is more to the story than just the drought.

"This is my personal opinion, but the reason water isn't coming down this is because of bureaucrats, and people that live downstream that have their own agenda, namely farmers."

Hamilton said wells around the area where he lives are going dry, and while farmers may have the funds to drill new ones, most residents like him do not.

"Send some down here and help recharge some of the groundwater, the wells, because we have nothing."

Officials with Clark's Fork Reclamation District, a member unit of the Kings River Water Association, have been advocating for more water below the Lemoore Weir. Officials are arguing that water diversions down the Lemoore Canal have a negative impact on the Kings River ecosystem and the residents that live near it.

Officials said groundwater recharge should be happening but there's a fear too much water will be lost if it flows this way, hence the diversions.

"There are irrigation deliveries being made down the south fork, or Clark's Fork, to the extent that growers and farmers and the irrigation districts on the south fork have ordered water-- that water is being released down the river," said Kings River Water Association Watermaster Steve Haugen.

Haugen continued to say the north fork of the Kings River has more water orders, as well as an ordered flood release from the Army Corps of Engineers. But he added that there is a continuous stream of water to the south.

Haugen also says any additional releases down the south fork will not impact water quantity in the north fork, and could only make any flooding problems between Pine Flat Dam and the south fork worse.

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