A new Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report says that one of the county’s key water sources is unrealistic in its water allocations.
Lake Cachuma is a key water source for a quarter of a million people and more than 300,000 acres of agriculture in the county. The report says when the lake was created in the mid-1950’s, it was intended to keep the region supplied with water during a drought for six to seven years. But, it says in year five of the current drought, it’s dangerously low.
The Grand Jury says that when water contracts are renewed in 2020, they need to be at more realistic levels for water agencies which use it. The report also points out that Cachuma’s capacity has decreased by 11% over the years through silt buildup. And, it calls on water agencies to allocate water for new development based on what the agency has available during a drought, and not during a normal water year.