Santa Barbara- S County

Santa Maria Water Supply in Good Shape Despite Drought

Water banking, conservation has Santa Maria with plentiful supply.

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Water supplies in the City of Santa Maria will be able to meet the needs of the community for at least the near future.

That despite word from Sacramento that it is suspending all State Water allocations to its customers for the coming season due to the statewide drought.

The City of Santa Maria has healthy state and groundwater supplies thanks to forward thinking by city leaders and ongoing conservation efforts.

"I think it's a real indication of global climate change", says Jim Gordon who's been living along the Santa Maria River for 15 years.

Gordon says he can't remember the river being so dry for so long during his 15 years in the city.

"The water problem is going to be bad", Gordon tells Central Coast News, "the State has already said its not going to ship any more water in the Spring, I don't know what that's going to mean for us, I don't think its going to be too good for the farmers."

"I think our groundwater supply at this time is extremely good", says Santa Maria Utilities Director Rick Sweet, "now we continue to monitor that very closely."

Sweet says the suspension of  State Water allocations means 800 acre-feet of water the City will not be getting.

But Sweet also says the City will still receive "carryover allocations" of at least that same amount from State Water that's been saved over previous years.

"The 800 acre feet is not a huge deal in our whole water supply", Sweet says, "so its not going to have a great affect on us."

The City has an aggressive water conservation program and as of 2011, Santa Marians were using an average of about 108 gallons of water per person per day, among the lowest usage levels in Santa Barbara County.

The City of Santa Maria has received about 160,000 acre-feet of State Water since the program began in 1997.

The City uses State Water to blend with the groundwater from the Santa Maria Valley basin to reduce the mineral content and harshness in the groundwater.


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