Water Water Everywhere…For Now

With Tuesday’s rains as a backdrop, the Santa Barbara City Council heard how city water consumers used nearly 1,000 acre-feet more water than usual this year, the driest in city history. Water resources staff reassured councilmembers that water supplies remain safe, sufficient, and reliable, even though southern municipalities are talking rationing. Though Lake Cachuma-the city’s chief water supply-is 70 percent full and its substantial groundwater basins are also close to full, Zaca Fire-caused ash, mud, and silt have seeped into Gibraltar Reservoir, reducing its capacity. Furthermore, the city’s deliveries from Cachuma may be reduced soon to provide more water for the endangered and federally protected steelhead trout. Likewise, deliveries from the state water system-a minor component of the city’s water portfolio-could be curtailed by 30 percent in deference to the Delta smelt, an endangered fish which may be getting sucked into extinction by water turbines in the San Francisco Bay. City staff suggested a wait-and-see approach based on precipitation this rainy season, but councilmember Das Willams said City Hall should start asking water customers to cut back sooner as a response to environmental concerns rather than as a reaction to drought.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.

Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A crop duster hit power lines in Ellwood Canyon.

County Accountant Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $2 Million

Forensic audit discovers almost 300 false invoices filed over nine years.

Los Padres ForestWatch Opposes Logging in Condor Country

Timber companies target 2,800 acres of trees near Mt. Pinos along the Tecuya Ridge.