SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The rushing water throughout Santa Barbara County in the last week is a positive sign, but the drought is not over.
Water Resources Manager Joshua Haggmark says the Santa Barbara supply will still need multiple sources and a specific management plant to get out of the crisis the area has dealt with for over five years.
Even with Gibraltar Dam filled and spilling, the water quality is poor due to fire zone runoff and other problems. The in flow to Cachuma Lake also does not go directly to Santa Barbara but a long list of customers and environmental obligations.
The last rain water from Cachuma that flowed to the city went through the delivery line in December.
The current water is from outside purchases coming through the state water pipeline and it is delivered from Northern California. The pipe can only move a specific amount, and while the city has solid purchases of water waiting to flow, the actual process is not enough to make everyone rest easy.
Some of the new inflow to Cachuma will have to go downstream to users in the Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valley based on long standing agreements.
Water officials are hoping the saturated hills will produce a strong supply if we get more consistent storms in a row between now and late March while the dam is full and the watershed is moving the rainfall to Gibraltar and the Santa Ynez River.
Haggmark also says conservation is strong in the city with a 12 month average of 34 percent and a goal of 40 percent to go with a lawn watering ban. But with the recent rains, outside irrigation will not be necessary for many weeks. Trees are also going to make a comeback after many succumbed to stress and disease due to the water shortage.
A full link to the city water supply report can be found here at: