SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, Calif. - Efforts to reach the remaining drinking water in Cachuma Lake in the coming months will take a new addition to the pipeline that is already stretched out into the critical supply Southern Santa Barbara County.
The current pipe and pumping station is bringing the water from a drastically lowered level to the Tecelote Tunnel. From there it comes to the front country water agencies in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito and Carpinteria.
The location of the existing pipe is no longer going to be a reliable spot in the next few months due to the prolonged drought.
A large stack of new pipe sections has been delivered to a staging area next to the lake marina. The plan beginning later this week, is to start attaching the pieces. They will be extended into a much deeper area of Cachuma to draw fresh water to the tunnel.
"This project has been contemplated for a couple of years now. It started in 2013. The consideration for two areas for pumping was contemplated from the beginning. This is the second stage and the last stage for the conveyance of the water from the lake, " said Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board General Manger Janet Gingras.
The lake is starting to drop to an area that hasn't been seen since it was created with the Bradbury Dam in the 1950's.
This summer there will also be a water release for down stream users that will drop the level even more than what will happen due to usage and evaporation. The released water will fill underground wells used by farmers and municipalities in areas including Solvang, Buellton, and Lompoc.
The Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board is following this closely and were are told there is a minimum level that will be maintained for environmental reasons, even if the water can no longer be pumped for the drinking water supply.
The lake is currently 88 feet below the spill level at the dam.
Cachuma first spilled during this week in 1958.
Over the weekend the Cachuma Lake County Park was packed with campers and an annual fishing derby was held. $5000. in prizes and merchandise went to the winners.