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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 6:45 am | Fair 45º


Jackson, Williams Announce Significant Progress in Securing Drought Funding for Lake Cachuma

Following months of work to identify state drought funding for a Lake Cachuma emergency pumping project, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, announced Tuesday that significant progress is being made.

In a recent meeting Jackson and Williams had with leaders of the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Water Resources, these agencies indicated a funding announcement will likely be made in coming weeks.

“We know how critical this issue is to our districts, and so we have and will continue to make it a top priority,” Jackson said. “We are pleased to have received word that funding agreements between the state and local agencies are likely to be completed within weeks. We look forward to continuing to work to ensure that this money gets into the hands of our local communities and local water agencies as soon as possible, given the extraordinary urgency of the Lake Cachuma situation. While it’s important that we continue to conserve water, it’s also vital that we ensure our residents have access to water in the midst of this historic drought.”

During the meeting with SWRCB and DWR, it was reported to the lawmakers that while the prospect of receiving emergency funds is positive, there are still some necessary prerequisites. One such example is that a local water agency may need to have their governing board officially adopt a resolution declaring an emergency due to drought. However, once those actions are taken, the state will be prepared to announce funds in the coming weeks.

“We are pleased that the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board are working closely with our local water agencies to provide this crucial funding for the Cachuma pumping project in a timely manner,” Williams said. “We look forward to continuing this state and local partnership as we address California’s drought emergency through conservation, efficiency measures, and infrastructure improvements.”

The member agencies of the Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board are in close communication with the state agencies and are working diligently to provide any necessary additional information for the receipt of funds.

Lake Cachuma serves as the primary water source for approximately 200,000 Santa Barbara County residents. A decline in the lake levels due to the severe drought has jeopardized the gravity-fed pump system that delivers water to residents.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.


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