With the big rains that were expected for Santa Barbara last season and didn’t happen the city is preparing to tap into new water sources outside of their usual supply from Lake Cachuma, state water, ground water, local streams and reservoirs, and recycled water.
First on the list is the new Charles E. Meyer Desalination Facility, located to the east of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone at 525 E. Yanonali Street, which is expected to fill about 30% (3,125 acre-feet per year) of Santa Barbara’s demand for water. The facility was originally targeted to open this month but due to power supply corrections and added environmental safety elements is now scheduled to open in January 2017 at an extra cost of $4 million.
For five other Santa Barbara County water agencies (Carpinteria, Guadalupe, Santa Maria, Solvang and the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District) a plan is pending to get over 12,000 acre-feet per year back from their suspended amount of State Water Project deliveries, dating back to the early 1980’s. The plan is waiting approval from the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 1st. These agencies could in turn sell water to the Montecito Water District and Goleta Water District just as Santa Maria has done in the recent past.
Santa Barbara will also explore new water purchases from out of the area next year should the drought weather pattern continue in Southern California and wet winter pattern continue to the north. Residents of Santa Barbara are encouraged to stay aware of their water usage and conserve as much as possible during the drought. References on water conservation and awareness are available at www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/pw/resources/conservation/ and http://www.waterwisesb.org/.