SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Maria water agency says it has excess reserves and it's willing to sell off a big load of it to two needy agencies in the southern part of the county.
Kelly Dyer with the City of Santa Barbara Water Resources Division made a presentation to the City Council saying they are ready to make a purchase. A staff report says the Montecito Water District is also looking at a similar deal.
The rainfall this winter was impressive after a lengthy drought but water officials say Cachuma Lake is only at 50 percent of capacity. Gibraltar Dam is nearly full and stopped spilling from the rainfall runoff in May.
Other ways water is being calculated involves conservation at 30 percent, reclaimed water, the newly started desalination plant and state water purchases.
The supplies should keep the city flowing into 2019.
Currently it remains in a Stage 3 drought condition.
This continues to be one of the driest six year periods in history.
Conservation goals remain at 30 percent, down from 40 percent.
Santa Maria says it has 4000 acre feet (AF) of water to sell. Santa Barbara wants half and Montecito can purchase the other half.
The cost will be $450-thousand for the water and $500-thousand for a transfer. This involves a payback plan Santa Barbara has with the Antelope Valley East Kern Agency. Water purchased during the drought came with a return agreement and this deal with Santa Maria will ease that burden.
A city drought fund is in place to cover these costs.