Friday, March 23 , 2018, 9:28 am | Fair 55º


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Without More Rain, Santa Barbara Faces Water Shortage by 2020

Without substantial amounts of rainfall, Santa Barbara faces a water shortage by 2020. 

To contend with the potential ordeal, the city plans to present several options, including desalinating more water, at a meeting in May. 

"It has been a very dismal rainfall year," said Joshua Haggmark, the city's water resources manager, at Tuesday's City Council meeting. 

As of Tuesday, only 2.42 inches of rain had fallen on Santa Barbara in the past year. The worst year on record, Haggmark said, was about 6 inches. 

"It still remains an emergency situation for us," Haggmark said. 

As of Feb. 12, Gibraltar Reservoir was at 40 percent of capacity, or about 2,005 acre-feet. Cachuma Lake was at 39 percent of capacity, at 75,090 acre-feet.

However, the city only has access to about 7,160 acre-feet. Santa Barbara does have access to about 1,000 acre-feet in the San Luis Reservoir.

In September, Santa Barbara's Gibraltar Reservoir was at 61 percent of capacity and Cachuma Lake was at 45 percent of capacity, Haggmark said.

If the spring remains dry, Haggmark said, an emergency pumping facility will be needed. 

"We're at that point again talking about putting the barge back out," Haggmark said. 

Santa Barbara residents conserved about 25 percent more water in January than in the year prior, and are down about 39 percent in the past 12 months, Haggmark said. 

This is year 7 of the drought for Santa Barbara residents. 

"Maybe this is just the new normal," Haggmark said. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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