About Fairview Dam

Fairview Dam is the uppermost component of the KR3 powerplant conveyor system, built between 1919 and 19121. The water is diverted into a tunnel and then dropped at the power plant, which is located downstream at the Lickety Split section of the Upper Kern, just north of Kernville. According to historian Matthew Weintraub, the dam “…was the highest-head reaction turbine in the world at the time it was constructed; it used the longest hydroelectric system tunnel in California at the time it was constructed; and it included a unique and innovative settling basin.”

Source: HISTORIC AMERICAN ENGINEERING RECORD KERN RIVER 3 HYDROELECTRIC SYSTEM HAER No. CA-2309. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/master/pnp/habshaer/ca/ca4000/ca4065/data/ca4065data.pdf

During the 2023 high water events, we captured a video of Fairview Dam at 6,000 CFS. That video can be viewed here.

Fairview River Gauges

There is a gauge above and below Fairview Dam. There are two gauges located here to show how much the diversion dam is pulling out of the river. You can view both Kern River flow gauges here.