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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 12th, 2016, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 17, Issue 19

Lake Cachuma releases water to recharge Santa Ynez groundwater resources

By BRENNA SWANSTON

Lake Cachuma’s Bradbury Dam began releasing water into the Santa Ynez River on July 12, per the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District’s request. The released water will recharge groundwater basins along the river, which provide water for cities, towns, and farms in the area.


HOT DAM
Bradbury Dam (pictured) will release water downstream to help recharge the groundwater basins hit hard by years-long rainfall deficits.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

The release—which is expected to last about two months, according to a statement from the water conservation district—will send about 320 acre-feet of water per day downstream, and the recharged basins will reach as far as the Lompoc Valley.

California has entered its fifth consecutive year of drought, and Santa Barbara County is looking at its driest-ever five-year period, according to Santa Barbara County Water Agency Manager Fray Crease. The years-long rain deficit has hit California hard, stressing groundwater resources more than ever before.

The current downstream releases from Bradbury Dam, combined with existing water deliveries from the Cachuma Reservoir to the South Coast, will help replenish some of those groundwater basins. The process is expected to reduce the reservoir’s water level to about minimum pool—12,000 acre-feet—by the end of the year.

Barring unlikely substantial rainfall next winter, Cachuma Reservoir probably won’t have enough in store for any further water releases, according to the water district.




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