Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

Aerial View of the Bradbury Dam (Photo: John Wiley) title=
Aerial View of the Bradbury Dam (Photo: John Wiley)
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Source: Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District 

The Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District would like the Public to be aware that water will soon be released into the Santa Ynez River from Lake Cachuma’s Bradbury Dam.  The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will release water from Bradbury Dam starting at approximately 8:00 a.m. on August 31, 2020.  The release is being called for by the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District to provide water to recharge the groundwater basins along the Santa Ynez River downstream of the Dam.  These groundwater basins provide an essential source of water for the cities, towns and farming interests along the Santa Ynez River and on the Lompoc Plain. 

Initially released at about 180 cubic feet per second (360 acre-feet per day), the water will move downstream to provide recharge as far as the Lompoc Valley.  It will be confined to the “low flow” channel of the river.  The release is expected to continue for about three months.  The flow may impede traffic on low river crossings and caution is always advised near moving water.   

The release is consistent with State water rights orders as well as agreements among users who store water in Lake Cachuma.  About 16,000 acre-feet of water is expected to be released.  This release will not impact water deliveries to the South Coast and has been coordinated with the Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board (COMB).  Although the Lake will be lower, facilities at Cachuma County Park, including the boat ramps, will remain in full operation.

Follow the flow of the river at

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JustAguy Aug 31, 2020 10:01 PM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

I drove down Refugio rd. from SR 246 to the Santa Inez river bridge today. There was some water in the river bottom, but it looked nothing like previous releases. I’m not sure that they have started yet. Does anyone know anything more?

sandy1 Aug 15, 2020 09:05 AM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

I just saw 6 or 7 cloud to ground Lightning Bolts over Goleta , looked like between UCSB and Cathedral Oaks in the period of about 15 minutes 8:45 to 9:00 am Sat . Pretty cool.

RHS Aug 15, 2020 08:46 AM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

Lot of confusion about Gin Chow: Here is what Wikipedia says: Gin Chow v. City of Santa Barbara.
Alleging that Santa Barbara and Montecito were unlawfully diverting water for domestic use from the Santa Ynez River by having previously dammed it and planning to construct another dam, Chow filed a lawsuit against the Cities of Santa Barbara and Montecito for injunctive relief to obtain entitlement to water being diverted. Chow believed that his water rights, as an owner of land through which the Santa Ynez passed, were being violated.

The case reached the California Supreme Court (217 Cal. 673, 22 Pac. 5). The court ruled that no waters captured by the cities could have passed into Chow's holdings because the water taken by the cities constituted "... extraordinary storm waters of the river...." meaning that cities were entitled to take the excess flood waters from rivers "... where no use is made of such waters on the riparian land and no benefit accrues to riparian land from their passage over the bed of the stream, and no damage is caused to the riparian land from the proposed diversion."

The case is seen as having set a precedent for the state to build more dams.

MountainMan4865 Aug 14, 2020 08:53 PM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

I concur with the Gin Chow info. Thank god for him - the SY Valley still has access to that water. This is absolutely essential. Not only for the farms, and properties that rely on ground water, but this keeps the fuel moisture up in the surrounding vegetation. Should have been left a river.

RHS Aug 14, 2020 06:51 PM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

The influx of State Water Project stuff has filled the lake again. We need to attend to this idea. There is an alternative to desal and it is cheaper. The release of the SWP water is required to continue to make the aquifer below the dam viable for agriculture. It works nicely.

a-1597521770 Aug 15, 2020 01:02 PM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

I heard that masks don't protect us from COVID and actually cause tooth decay and bad breath. People will say the darndest things. We need to be suspicious of propositions that don't make sense except when they have an ax to grind.

vvorker Aug 14, 2020 12:58 PM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

Wow..Far out. We were just kayaking on the lake this morning, the water is a bit on the green side. Seen a big flock of about 100 cormorants who have taken residence at the lake, and seem to be enjoying the minnows . As far as the campground, had tweekers up till 330 with dogs barking, but camping is suppose to be an adventure..
The story behind the water release is kinda neat, Gin chow a local china town resident, who predicted the 1925 earthquake on the exact date, and later in life moved down to lompoc valley got the water rights flowing if my memory is correct!!

Red Creek Aug 14, 2020 08:13 PM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

We were on the lake yesterday with our inflatable. You have to meet the state boating regs, with at least 2 chambers and 9' or longer. They will inspect your vessel and disinfect for Quagga. I think they started up kayaking and sculls last year. There is a daily or annual pass available. Rentals also available, hard shell.

Bird Aug 14, 2020 07:45 PM
Bradbury Dam Scheduled to Make Downstream Releases

VVorker, did you bring your own kayak or do they rent them there? I have an inflatable kayak and was told last year no way could it be used at Cachuma --- and there weren't kayaks to rent. I am not sure that your description of Gin Chow's significance is correct although he did predict accurately earthquakes!

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