Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 5:17 pm | Fair 74º


Local News

Santa Barbara Still in a Drought, But Has Water Supplies Through 2020

If it doesn’t rain, Santa Barbara has enough water to last through 2020.

The odds of the drought ending don’t look favorable. The National Oceanic at Atmospheric Administration is predicting a 30-percent chance of a drier than average winter season.

“As we are all too aware, we are still in a drought," said Rebecca Bjork, Santa Barbara’s public works director. “Our water supply situation remains very bad.”

The city’s Gibraltar Reservoir has 1,799 acre-feet of water and is at 33 percent capacity. Cachuma Lake is at 39 percent of capacity, with about 75,694 acre-feet of water remaining.

The city has access to about 2,000 acre-feet of water in Cachuma and 1,400 acre-feet in the San Luis Reservoir.  

"Let it rain," Mayor Helene Schneider said at Tuesday's council meeting. 

Despite the lack of rain, Bjork said, conservation levels are at 1985 levels, when the city had 5,000 fewer residents. The city used about 35 percent less water in October than the year prior. 

"Our community continues to excel in its conservation efforts," Bjork said. "Not only our residents, but our visitors and businesses are doing a terrific job in making every drop count."

If there is no rain between now and 2020, the city expects to increase conservation targets, and possibly buy more imported water. Santa Barbara only plans to use about 3,000 acre-feet of desalinated water per year through 2020.

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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