BUELLTON, Calif. - Thanks to a very wet March the State Water Project will provide some water to its 29 customers.
Its a bit of good news for Central Coast communities left high and dry by the ongoing drought.
Its definitely not enough water to feel comfortable turning the sprinklers back on.
But after announcing there would be zero water allocations for the first time in its history due to the drought. the State Water Project will now deliver some water to its customers
"Last Friday, that changed", says Ray Stokes, Executive Director of the Central Coast Water Authority, "they went from zero percent to five percent for all state water project contractors due to the recent rain storms."
"That's obviously very good news", Stokes says, "that increases the amount of water to Central Coast Water Authority participants by about 2,274 acre-feet."
Stokes says the 5% water allocation from the California Department of Water Resources is welcome, but not nearly enough to meet the demand for many Central Coast communities.
"We have instituted a supplemental water purchase program", Stokes says, "five of our project participants have requested that we find additional water supplies, they are looking for about 9,000 acre-feet, of those five agencies, that additional five percent, their share of that is roughly 1400 acre feet, so we still need quite a bit more water, so we are actively searching for additional water sources and purchases and exchanges."
"We are looking for an additional 9,000 acre-feet to meet the demand, primarily for the South Coast water agencies, Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Buellton, they have groundwater they can draw upon for probably multiple years, the South Coast is dependent on primarily their local sources, Lake Cachuma being the main source."
"We are close to striking some deals for water purchases and exchanges, this week in fact", Stokes says, "if we don't have additional precipitation next year those opportunities are going to be few and far between simply because everybody is going to be in the same boat wanting to conserve as much water as possible."
Stokes oversees state water imports to 13 customers under the Central Coast Water Authority based in Buellton.
"This is an unprecedented year obviously", Stokes says, "we started out with a zero percent allocation from the State DWR, thankfully we had some storms that came through that increased the situation a little bit, but nevertheless we are still in a very serious situation, and if we don't get additional precipitation for 2015 it will be a dire situation for sure."
Stokes says The Central Coast Water Authority will resume pumping water into parched Lake Cachuma Tuesday night.
"We were shut off from pumping into Lake Cachuma because of fish issues", Stokes says, "we have installed a bypass piping project so we should be able to resume delieveries, so that's the big news of today, we will be starting deliveries again into Lake Cachuma. We've been shutoff since April 4th, that's 750 acre feet that we were not able to put into Lake Cachuma, we didn't lose the water but we lost those days of being able to pump into lake."