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Supervisors Approve San Antonio Groundwater Basin Five-Year Study

Since the San Antonio Groundwater Basin is the sole source of water for the San Antonio Valley in central Santa Barbara County, county leaders approved a five-year study to examine the current and future water availability of the region.

The county Board of Supervisors is partnering with the U.S. Geological Survey and approved a funding agreement this week.

The county water agency’s share of the costs will be about $1.5 million over the five-year study period.

The San Antonio Groundwater Basin is the sole source of water for the greater Los Alamos Valley and supplies Vandenberg Air Force Base, which also uses the State Water Project.

This project will be aligned with the recent state groundwater legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, noted Tom Fayram, deputy director of water resources.

Land above the basin is mostly agricultural and has largely been converted from livestock pasture to irrigated vineyards since the groundwater levels were last studied in the early 1980s, according to county staff.

USGS and county evaluations will look into the historic record of water levels declining in some areas of the basin and consider more opportunities to recharge the groundwater levels.

County water staff met with various stakeholder groups before finalizing the plans for this study and the Cachuma Resource Conservation District will take a leadership role with advisory committee and public meetings over the next five years.

The San Antonio Valley is about 30 miles long by 7 miles wide and is bordered by the Solomon-Casmalia Hills to the north, Purisima Hills to the south, the Burton mesa on the west side and San Rafael Mountains in the east, according to county records. 

The basin itself is located about 15 miles south of Santa Maria and covers an area of 128 square miles.

 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.

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