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.

This week’s question: I would love to read an A-to-Z account or report of the development, supply and logistics of the water resources brought to our community.

— Scott Van Horn, Santa Barbara

Where does your water come from?

Basically, Santa Barbara County residents get their potable water from surface water (reservoirs, State Water Project deliveries, purchased water from outside areas), groundwater (water agencies pump it, and some residents have private wells), recycled water (treated wastewater that is distributed by a separate pipeline system for irrigation, mostly) and desalination, as soon as Santa Barbara’s plant starts operations.

Water districts have worked to secure “drought buffer” supplies, even as winter rains reduced Santa Barbara County’s drought to moderate from exceptional (the worst level, despite the name) since December.

Santa Barbara’s reactivated desalination plant, which turns seawater into potable water, is expected to start operations soon.

The Montecito Water District, which doesn’t have much local groundwater or a storage basin to call its own, is buying storage capacity in the Central Valley to bank 1,500 acre-feet of water in times of surplus.

Five county water agencies want to buy back into their suspended State Water Project deliveries as a drought buffer, which would mean an additional 12,212 acre-feet of water per year.

Santa Barbara County staff are negotiating with the Bureau of Reclamation on a new Cachuma Project water supply contract, which will decide how much water local agencies can pump out of Lake Cachuma each year. Tom Fayram, deputy director of the county’s Water Resources Division​, said the current drought could be the “new worst” used for those calculations, and expects smaller water allocations in the future.

We know this doesn’t cover all the letters on your A-to-Z list, but we’ll try to complete the alphabet later this year.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.