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Drought Is Officially Over, County Declares

As of Tuesday, Lake Cachuma contained 75.4 percent of its maximum volume, prompting the County Board of Supervisors to end the drought emergency, though concerns about water remain. | Credit: Paul Wellman

The region’s historic seven-year drought is officially over, declared Santa Barbara County supervisors Tuesday morning as they terminated a longstanding emergency proclamation. But at the same time — and by anonymous vote — they adopted a “resolution of concern” about ongoing water-supply shortages. “Despite the end of the drought, the shortage of water remains,” Office of Emergency Management Director Rob Lewin told the board.

To date, rainfall totals countywide are pushing 140 percent of normal, but substantial problems remain with reservoir sedimentation and inadequately recharged aquifers. “We should continue to behave as we did during the drought because we are still in deep trouble,” said Supervisor Das Williams, adding to the board’s general applause of the public’s behavioral changes over the past several years, especially efforts to replace thirsty lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping.

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