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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 9:04 pm | A Few Clouds 51º


Goleta Water District Adopts Groundwater Plan

After lengthy study and public input, the plan is ready for implementation

The Goleta Water District formally adopted its long-range groundwater management plan at Tuesday’s board of directors meeting, kicking off what Director Bert Bertrando said was a new era in resource management on the South Coast.

“This is a milestone because we can start forgetting about the Wright judgment,” Bertrando said, referring to the lawsuit brought against the district by Martha Wright.

As the groundwater table dropped, Wright was forced to pump groundwater from greater depths, and she blamed the district for the rising energy costs she faced in association with pumping. The case was decided much later, in 1985, and the court gave the district until 1998 to equalize extraction and recharge rates from the aquifer as well as rehabilitate it.

On top of that, the SAFE Ordinance, passed by the district in 1991, required that the district maintain the groundwater aquifer at 1972 levels as a drought buffer, only to be drawn upon when water from Lake Cachuma is being rationed.

“We’ve done what we’re supposed to do so that we can really manage our groundwater supply in a way that Sacramento wants for groundwater basins around the state,” said Bertrando, hearkening to legislation passed by the state last fall requiring water agencies to formulate groundwater management plans.

Goleta’s groundwater plan also incorporates the adjacent La Cumbre Mutual Water Co. — a small agency covering the Hope Ranch and a few surrounding neighborhoods — as it shares part of the district’s aquifer.

Bertrando said the district will continue to encourage public participation in the management process similar to the stakeholder meeting held last month with Dr. Steve Bachman, who compiled the groundwater management plan report.

Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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