Grand Jury Investigates Cachuma Water Project

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Grand Jury Investigates Cachuma Water Project
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Photo: Patti Gutshall

Source: Santa Barbara County Grand Jury

Few issues are more important to the residents of Santa Barbara County than Water. In reviewing prospects for the upcoming Contract for the Cachuma Project, due in 2020, the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury (Jury) recommends that the 1995 contract needs far more than revision. 

Its coverage is outdated and does not address the challenges of the future, especially the likely disruptions due to climate change. Its different technical terms can mean the same thing, and a single technical term can have several meanings. The Jury recommends revising outdated provisions every 5 years.

The Jury recommends that, unlike in the past, the County Water Agency and the 5 Water Districts should speak with one voice to the Bureau of Reclamation, especially in regard to the amounts of water to be diverted to the Districts each year. Regular meetings of their technical staffs could alleviate disagreements.

The Jury recommends that local agencies combine to create a website which covers the essentials about the Cachuma Project and gives links to more specialized material.

Whiskey is for Drinking ... But, Why Fight Over Water?

The entire report, "The Cachuma Project: Contract and Management" can be found here.

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Luvaduck Jul 03, 2019 10:53 AM
Grand Jury Investigates Cachuma Water Project

Since silt wasn't hauled off and vegetation removed as it started to take over previously Cachuma acreage, what can you say about the lake's management? (Yes there would've been issues regarding agricultural run-off both with salts and chemicals, but that's more easily remediated than poor water quality and other subsequent costs due to allowing land encroachment when the opposite is necessary due to increased population.)

yacht rocked Jul 03, 2019 01:05 PM
Grand Jury Investigates Cachuma Water Project

One acre (208 x 208 feet) of land covered by one foot of water contains about 325,851 gallons of water. One hundred cubic feet of water (what most water bills call a UNIT) contains 748 gallons and costs around $3-4 after treatment and as delivered to your home.. 325,851/748 equals about 436 UNITS, which at $4/unit is about $1,744. Removing one acre foot of silt, drying it, trucking it somewhere and disposing of it is going to cost a heck of a lot more than $1,744, and it would take tens of thousands of truckloads to remove enough silt to make a difference. No, it won’t get cheaper in volume.

ParvoPup Jul 02, 2019 08:53 PM
Grand Jury Investigates Cachuma Water Project

Am I missing something here? What do you investigate about a dam and a reservoir? It hasn't rained - oh look, the water level is low. It rained - oh look, the level is rising. Oh look - the water is blue today.

Flicka Jul 02, 2019 02:15 PM
Grand Jury Investigates Cachuma Water Project

Sounds like "more meetings" are definitely needed to include everyone and get them on the same page. Communication! CHILLINGRILLIN, You make a good point showing that COMB needs a total makeover. A shame they get away with no oversight to allow such nonsense.

ChillinGrillin Jul 02, 2019 10:30 AM
Grand Jury Investigates Cachuma Water Project

Lol about time. I lived with someone who worked for COMB and they said it was a total basket case, even by the low standards of obscure government agencies. Nepotism, high turnover, low pay, temps doing the work of multiple people, poor communication, the whole enchilada.

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