Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 4:54 pm | Fair 70º

 
 
 
 

Lake Cachuma Emergency Pumping System Still in Standby Mode for Now

Considering the amount of water in Lake Cachuma, Santa Barbara County officials believe they won’t need to turn on the reservoir's new emergency pumping system until at least December.

The pumping system, initiated by the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board, is already operational and on standby mode until the lake’s water level gets too low for gravity to feed the Tecolote Tunnel that supplies the South Coast with water.  

When water levels drop below the gates for the North Portal Intake Tower, pumps will be needed to get water into the tunnel.

In an update to the COMB board this week, Ward said the current levels mean the gravity feed could keep working into December. 

Contractors finished construction in late August, and the pumps, when turned on, will be able to deliver 45 million gallons per day.

The project is being partially funded by COMB member agencies, including the Goleta Water District, the City of Santa Barbara, the Montecito Water District and the Carpinteria Valley Water District.

COMB also is anticipating about $2 million in funding from state and federal grants, according to COMB general manager Randy Ward.

The lake is at 28.7 percent capacity, with 55,474 acre-feet of water left, according to county numbers.

For the first two weeks of November, there was an average of 41.3 acre-feet of water going out through the tunnel and another 8 acre-feet per day being released into Hilton Creek as required for the steelhead trout population.

An acre-foot of water is 326,000 gallons. 

The Central Coast Water Authority, which manages the State Water Project deliveries for the Santa Barbara region, has been delivering an average of 42 acre-feet per day into Cachuma.

Santa Barbara County’s other reservoirs are also at low levels, with Santa Barbara’s Gibraltar Reservoir at 12.6 percent capacity, Montecito’s Jameson Reservoir at 47.9 percent, and Santa Maria’s Twitchell Reservoir at zero.

In January, the month before most South Coast water agencies declared a drought and started implementing restrictions, Cachuma was at 40.3 percent capacity.

Noozhawk news 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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.