Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 11:10 am | Partly Cloudy 69º

 
 
 
 

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Lake Cachuma Emergency Pumping System Put Into Operation

The Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board has started up the emergency pumping system to continue delivering water from Lake Cachuma to the Santa Barbara County South Coast.

COMB delivers water from the lake to Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito and Carpinteria through the Tecolote Tunnel, but the pumping system is needed to feed the system due to the low water level in Cachuma.

“The Emergency Pumping Facility Project was placed into operational mode Monday, Aug. 17, slightly earlier than expected due to the 89-19 Water Rights releases,” according to COMB documents from this week’s meeting.  

“During the first two weeks of operations, the pumps are intended to operate incrementally until the lake level declines to a certain elevation, at which time the contractor will commence with automated pumping to meet demand.”

The lake level is at the point where the pump station needs to operate for several hours per day, but when it reaches 674 feet (a 2-foot drop from the current level), it will need to operate continuously, whenever South Coast agencies need water, according to a COMB report.

Lake Cachuma is at 20.6 percent of its capacity, according to the county.

The current drought could be the "new worst" for drought projections and future water allocations, said Tom Fayram, deputy director of the county's Public Works Department.  

COMB has budgeted $6.8 million for the pumping project over three years, including construction, energy costs and costs of relocating the pumping barge to a deeper area.

Contractors recently dredged 5 feet of lake-bottom sediment from the barge area, allowing it to stay in its current location for an extra two months, which will save money, according to COMB.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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