Saturday, July 23, 2016

Santa Barbara County Responds to Grand Jury Lake Cachuma Report

There's a new reality for Lake Cachuma. The Santa Barbara County Civil Grand Jury reports the lake's water levels are at an all time low of 14% capacity. But, while the lake levels reach new lows, there is still a constant demand for its water supply.
"We are almost out they are expecting to make it to October but that will be problematic if it doesn't rain until that," says Peter Adam, Chair of the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors. "The problem is of course the use has expanded in the south coast but the lake has gotten smaller," he says.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors met in Santa Maria on Tuesday to discuss what to do next. In 2020 The United States Bureau of Reclamation and the Santa Barbara County Water Agency that provides water service from the Cachuma Lake Project will expire.
"The board of supervisors acting as the board of directors for the water agency gave us authority to move forward and directed us to move forward to start the process for the new contracts," says Tom Fayram, Deputy Public Works Director of Santa Barbara.
He says the contracts with the several agencies who use water from the lake can take a few years to draw up. It's something that would effect agencies like the Santa Ynez River Conservation District. "We provide water on an annual basis from the Cachuma Project to our domestic and agricultural customers," says Chris Dahlostrom, General Manager for the agency.
Dahlostrom says the agency uses four water supplies, the lake is one. "Being as low as it is it does create a situation where we have to use our suppliers more readily than what we would in the past," he says.
Officials say they hope this years rainfall will help bring the levels back up.
July 12, 2016
By Amanda Valdes

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