Santa Barbara County Continues to Experience ‘Severe’ Drought

With below average rainfall expected for the next three months, Santa Barbara County remains in a severe drought, the Santa Barbara City Council announced during its Water Supply Management Report meeting on Jan. 30.
Due to the most recent rain event on Jan. 9, the reservoir received 500 acre-feet of inflow.
According to Kelley Dyer, water supply manager for the City of Santa Barbara, the inflow to the reservoir can be treated, but it takes about three weeks for the sediment, including ash and mud, to settle out, so the county has been pulling from other sources.
The impact of the Thomas, Whittier and Rey Fires on water quality and supply of the Cachuma, Gibraltar, and State water supply “will last for years,” Dyer said.
The report showed the impact of rainfall from Sep. 1, 2017, to Jan. 29, 2018 in Santa Barbara, as well as the county’s two main sources for water supply.
From Dec. 10, 2016, to Jan. 23, 2017, the impact of of rainfall was much higher in Santa Barbara County and its sources of water.
The Gibraltar Reservoir received 133 percent of the expected amount of rainfall, and the Cachuma Reservoir received 147 percent of normal rainfall.
Santa Barbara County received 163 percent of typical rainfall for that time of year.
Dyer explained that when the Cachuma Reservoir stops spilling is when it is clear that Santa Barbara County is entering a drought.
She said that the last time Cachuma spilled was in 2011.

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