Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions title=
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions
Reads 4926

Source: County of Santa Barbara

On July 8, Governor Newsom added Santa Barbara County to the list of California counties experiencing a drought and subject to his emergency proclamation initially declared on April 10, 2021. On July 13, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors proclaimed a local emergency caused by current drought conditions within the county.
Proclaiming the existence of a drought emergency enables the County and water utilities to take immediate actions to mitigate and respond to the current drought conditions. It is important that measures are taken now to mitigate the impacts of drought to ensure the resilience of our drinking water systems.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor report, more than 30 percent of California is in exceptional drought, the most severe of the Monitor’s four categories. About 80 percent of California is in extreme drought or exceptional drought. 
Building and managing a reliable water system includes anticipating and planning for extreme weather and weather-related events, such as droughts, floods and wildland fires. It also considers estimates of future population growth, and projections of water use for people, manufacturing, agriculture and a host of other factors. It also used to rest on two key assumptions: that there is always more supply to be found, somewhere, to satisfy growing populations and water demand; and that the climate isn’t changing. These two assumptions are no longer true. 
Fresh water is a scarce commodity. Most of the world's population who have never gone short of water take water availability for granted. Water supplies are diminishing while demand is soaring, yet few people are aware of the true extent of fresh water scarcity, confused by the huge expanses of oceans, lakes and icecaps covering the Earth’s surface. In all, barely one percent of all the world’s fresh water is easily accessible.

Historically, water has been at the center of much of this world's conflict and suffering. Water is a valuable commodity due to droughts and overuse, and like all valuable assets, water needs expert management of resources guided by policies and regulations. Water resource management is the activity of planning, developing and distributing the optimum use of water resources. Ideally, water resource management considers all the competing demands and allocates water on an equitable basis. 

Where Does Our Water Come From?

When you turn on the tap and water flows, do you know the source of that water? In most communities, water supplies are a blend of local groundwater, storm runoff and recycling, such as desalination. However, nearly 27 million California residents also rely on state water supplies originating in Northern California that are stored and conveyed in a series of pipes, pumps, dams and reservoirs from the Bay Delta; across the Central Valley, coasts and desserts; and down to San Diego County.
Locally, Santa Barbara County residents receive water from the sources mentioned above, including storm runoff, the State Water Project (state water), recycled water and desalination, delivered through a variety of water purveyors, generally municipal, private and special district water departments and agencies. Most of the water used in north county comes from groundwater and state water, while the communities of Santa Ynez, Ballard and Los Olivos also receive some river water. Since groundwater level fluctuations are cyclical and sensitive to overdraft, groundwater withdrawal is closely monitored.

California  Aqueduct

Water deliveries from the State Water Project are used primarily as a supplemental supply with amounts that will vary each year. Santa Barbara County began receiving water from the State Water Project in 1997.  Most recently, in April 2021, as the contract holder for the State Water Project with the California Department of Water Resources, the Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District approved Amendment 21 and Resolution No. 21-73 aimed at protecting the county’s regional water supplies.
Amendment 21 allows for greater flexibility to manage state water. Resolution No. 21-73 generally requires that prior to selling State Water Project water outside of Santa Barbara County, local water purveyors first offer the water to the other water purveyors within the county at a reasonable price and demonstrate that sellable water can be replaced by other water sources, i.e. reclaimed water, desalination or other local water supplies. These principles allow regional water supply to be managed through time with droughts in mind and for the benefit of all county residents.    

Cachuma Reservoir


Twitchell Reservoir

There are Four Major Reservoirs Located in Santa Barbara County

Cachuma Reservoir is owned and operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), Twitchell Reservoir is owned by the USBR and operated by the Santa Maria Valley Water Conservation District, Gibraltar Reservoir is owned and operated by the City of Santa Barbara, and Jameson Reservoir is owned and operated by the Montecito Water District. Water is delivered to our south coast via three tunnels through the Santa Ynez Mountains.
An additional local source is desalinated ocean water, which is not dependent on rainfall. The process of removing the high concentration of salts and minerals from ocean water requires costly treatment plants that use a lot of energy and leave behind a brine that must be properly disposed of. As technology advances and other water sources become less available, desalination will become more cost-effective and a larger percentage of locally-controlled water supplies. 

Gibraltar Reservoir

Jameson Reservoir

Role of the County Water Agency and County Flood Control and Water Conservation District

The Santa Barbara County Water Agency was established by the state legislature in 1945 to control and conserve storm, flood and other surface waters for beneficial use and to enter into contracts for water supply. The Water Agency administers the contracts with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation-owned Cachuma and Twitchell Dam projects and participates in Groundwater Sustainability Agencies. 
In Santa Barbara County, groundwater basins that are subject to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) include all medium and high priority basins as defined by the California Department of Water Resources. Under the SGMA, agencies in each of these basins were required to form Groundwater Sustainability Agencies.
Additionally, the Water Agency prepares investigations and reports on the county's water requirements, groundwater conditions, efficient use of water, and other water supply related technical studies, and manages a number of countywide programs including the Integrated Regional Water Management Program, Regional Water Efficiency Program, and winter cloud seeding program.
The Water Agency was originally empowered under California Water Code to cooperate and contract with the state and federal governments on behalf of municipalities and water districts within Santa Barbara County. It has since been empowered to acquire property, condemn for the purpose of right-of-way, and assume indebtedness either as principle, guarantor, or underwriter.
In 1955, the Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District was created by the state legislature with the primary purpose of providing flood protection and conserving storm, flood and surface waters for beneficial public use. The District has held the contract for the State Water Project with the California Department of Water Resources since 1963 and paid all capital costs for the project through 1986. It subsequently transferred certain rights and responsibilities under the contract to the Central Coast Water Authority, while retaining the contract itself. The District has broad powers to prevent the exportation of water from the county.
In order to wisely and efficiently use all available water supplies, the Water Agency and the District, as well as a number of local water purveyors, operate water conservation/water use efficiency programs directed at helping consumers minimize waste and stretching threatened water supplies. For information, go to
Login to add Comments


Show Comments
PitMix Jul 15, 2021 08:03 AM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

LA Times was saying that we are still using less than we did before the last drought, so it might be difficult for us to cut back 15%.
The people that dumped all of that money into the desal plant are breathing a big sigh of relief because it looks like the money is well spent given our current conditions.

dukemunson Jul 15, 2021 01:03 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

How about getting rid of the tax incentive that you get based on how many kids you have? Instead of rewarding people via tax rebates based on how many kids they have, why not let the joy of having kids be the reward you get...

PitMix Jul 15, 2021 03:37 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Duke, the system we have needs a constant supply of workers to grow and supply the engines of capitalism. Otherwise you end up like Japan with a lot of old people and not enough workers to pay taxes for their care. That is the paradox of capitalism.

a-1626408787 Jul 15, 2021 09:13 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

I don't understand why immigration is not supported when one reviews our demographic trends. Socio-political-economic issues and analysis are much too complex for discussion on Edhat.
In another generation, many Americans will be pro-immigration.
And have fun caring for your elderly parents or shutting them away in sub-standard homes. 80% of our caretakers were immigrants, 100% were brown skinned. I've been and am still and more pro-immigrant.
You realize that people are picking your food in the fields during record-setting heatwaves?!

dukemunson Jul 16, 2021 07:38 AM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

the world simply has too many people…I don’t think it can sustain 8+ billion. And that applies locally too… we don’t have the land or water to build build build around here. So yeah, it wouldn’t make a huge difference (and people would obviously still have kids), but let’s stop incentivizing people via tax credits to have kids.

letmego Jul 16, 2021 09:18 AM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

PIT, part of Japan's problem with not enough younger workers is the culture of work. Lots and lots of work, but OH, now women can work (but not the same jobs as men) AND they need to look after the kids AND help the elderly parents. It's not surprising that their birth rates are low.

a-1626497406 Jul 16, 2021 09:50 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

A huge number of people will die from diseases, famine, dehydration in the next decade or two. And from the dangers of emigration.
Many in the US have died from Covid, many more globally will.
Millions died globally from HIV. In the 90's I thought pandemics would affect population -- they do so spottily not globally.

Those concerned about global population growth logically should support repeal of family planning gag orders and the Hyde amendment and support family planning agencies worldwide and allow, let alone support, aid efforts for family planning in the USA, and our efforts to support same globally.

a-1626498240 Jul 16, 2021 10:04 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Don't you realize that incentives are from the government to assist increasing the population in order to stabilize our population balance and our economy?!
please read some articles that address long term demographic changes and trends, social population balance and the economics of a decreasing birth rate.

I still don't want more people around. I didn't have any, which is my biggest contribution to decreasing environmental damage.

a-1626497720 Jul 16, 2021 09:55 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Both globally and in USA, Medical care agencies, especially pre-and post-partum groups and individuals are. In America too, which has an appalling level of post-partum complications and deaths. Many groups are working on that.
Of course I agree that the powers that be are not.
And conservatives/Republicans who tout concern for life? Not going there, but it's observable that they don't support efforts to help unborn and new born lives and children.

a-1626498968 Jul 16, 2021 10:16 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Reply to 9:50 by author.

What I meant by that post was that with all the suffering and death, it hasn't made much of a difference to population issues! So let's work on other solutions.
Given what I've seen in my life, it would take a radical horrible plague to make a difference to population.
Does the world really want to undergo something like the Black Plague?
"According to medieval historian Philip Daileader, it is likely that over four years, 45–50% of the European population died of plague.[107][g] In crowded cities, it was not uncommon for as much as 50% of the population to die.[24] Half of Paris' population of 100,000 people died. In Italy, the population of Florence was reduced from between 110,000 and 120,000 inhabitants in 1338 down to 50,000 in 1351. At least 60% of the population of Hamburg and Bremen perished,[109] and a similar percentage of Londoners may have died from the disease as well,[50] with a death toll of approximately 62,000 between 1346 and 1353.[39][i] Florence's tax records suggest that 80% of the city's population died within four months in 1348."

Of course with modern science this is unlikely. But let's see what the next pandemic brings.

Watcher237 Jul 15, 2021 11:09 AM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Just Sayin'.... Here too...

Except that... THERE IS NO WATER SHORTAGE!!! Only a shortage of vision...

Anyone taking a peek in the direction of west (or south for you south-coasters), may notice a hint of what I'm talking about... Those who are studious will have already learned the surface of the earth is 71% WATER. Nope, no shortage of water. There is plenty. It just needs proper treatment, as we all do.

Further, it is the responsibility of water boards to secure, provide, and manage adequate water resources for their customers. I say they're falling down on their primary responsibility. Big time.

Watcher237 Jul 16, 2021 02:27 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

There would be no local emergency if there were adequate water supplies. Thankful for our existing desalination plant, but believe we need more capacity. Not sure what's possible for growth at that plant, or if re-purposing the Exxon site up the road would make more sense. San Diego built the largest desalination plant in the western hemisphere. Went online about 4 years ago. That was vision.

a-1626494201 Jul 16, 2021 08:56 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

You seem to only address desal.
There are many other highly productive techniques to save water. Every home could have clothes washing machine gray water and rain water collection or routing of gutters to trees/plants/dirt adjacent to the housing.

City County and State water storm collection facilities! Before the water hits storm drains. Water-conscious landscaping that has filtering swales ...
Too many urban water planning ideas for me to mention, and it's not something I know about; I've just read about it.
A great use for infrastructure funding.
And this is the stuff you see in homes that win landscaping awards. Tons of ideas and info out there. I hired a group whose purpose this is to do my water infrastructure.

My favorite:

"Oasis Design specializes in deep green integrated designs for water supply, greywater reuse, edible landscaping, passive solar, fire-safe architecture, etc.
These designs can be used a-la-carte, or fully integrated and optimized for your context, enabling you to live well with as little as 90% less resource use than the average American.
You'll find info here on 35 years of original innovations, some of which have spread worldwide, adopted in building codes, etc."

a-1626494558 Jul 16, 2021 09:02 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Watcher: "... if there were adequate water supplies."

There may never again be adequate water supplies on a regular basis.

No one can make it rain. We are working with the most precious resource: Water.
It hasn't been synthesized. We rely on the earth-atmosphere ecology to produce it.
It's worth more than gasoline. No one seems to treat it this way, in the USA. It will become more precious. Millions will move (and are moving) as refugees from areas that no longer have it.

Chip of SB Jul 15, 2021 01:11 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

We are definitely moving in that direction. Voters do not want reliable electricity or plentiful water. In addition, voters want to do away with the traditional middle class lifestyle that prevailed during the 20th century. In the future, housing will be more like dorm rooms for grown ups, personal transportation will be a thing of the past, and water and power will be highly limited in availability.

letmego Jul 16, 2021 09:19 AM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

I guess I see it a bit differently. I grew up in a rural area with a well (so, water was there but it wasn't awesome and you had to conserve it). And being rural, we frequently lost power during storms. It's not just a 3rd world thing.

Andrea Smith Jul 16, 2021 12:19 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

LETMEGO choosing to live like that comes with consequences, you are living undeveloped. However, when people living in cities, not rural areas, are having their power turned off by the powers that be b/c they cannot generate enough, that is third world. When I was in India they turned off power for an hour sometimes more every day b/c of this problem, i.e. they were undeveloped/underdeveloped. There is no excuse for this in CA one of the world's largest economies and supposedly a developed state.

a-1626493532 Jul 16, 2021 08:45 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Have you ever traveled in a 'third-world country"?
Vacationing in a resort in a place like Jamaica, as an example, does NOT count.
Have you ever really existed in a poor country, even if just for a day?

if not, you have no ability or reason to make such comparisons. And if you have, you should know that our conditions are not comparable to a 'third-world country."

a-1626500912 Jul 16, 2021 10:48 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Thinking of national sacrifice during WWII shortages. My parents did their part. I doubt they complained -- yes, they were kids in the Great Depression.
I now do my part, with solar panels. I still set my thermostat to 78 and don't run AC til sunset. This is SB! None of us with housing will die. I always have a fan and wet shirt if it comes to that. Or no fan during a black out.
So utility companies have messed up badly. But if "enduring" a rolling or short term blackout can help your neighbors, and poor communities, handle a heat wave, how badly does such a step really hurt you?
What happened to caring about neighbors, in a broad sense? helping our neighbors, our community, banding together? Sometimes going without electricity for a short time saves lives. If our thermostats are set at 78 so cooling centers that save lives can run, what is your objection to that?

Byzantium Jul 15, 2021 01:31 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Stop subsidizing high density housing and stop encouraging in-migration resource taking population groups. If you come here, you pay full freight for what you need from this state. We no longer pay you to come and stay. Except, that is exactly what Newsom just did today - guaranteed basic income.

Lorax Jul 15, 2021 02:21 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

well said Barbareno,
And yet, our so-called city leaders and their planners keep approving more development and higher density projects. What magic will Nusome pull out to defend that one?!
Time for him to go, hope people are looking beond his "handouts" convienently planned weeks before his recall election.

Sun Jul 15, 2021 02:32 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Unfortunately we can thank the oil industry for climate change.
BigFoot Family, animated movie about the dirty oil industry and how 1 person can make a difference to save our land. Free on netflix and great for the whole family to watch.

ragtop Jul 15, 2021 04:39 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Yes, the governor and the County want you to conserve both power and water, all the while wanting to remove 4 hydropower dams on the Klamath River to supposedly save the salmon, while killing two other ESA protected fish. Dam removal is NOT a certainty, but a hopeful result. There are alternative to dam removal like fish cannons, etc. but those are not being considered. Never mind that salmon are overfished commercially, the river mouth is gill-netted by fisherman and the tribes to prevent salmon from returning to spawn, as well as unfavorable ocean conditions. These dams provide safe fire suppression resources, a fire fuel break, clean power, and recreation. It will release 20-30 million cubic yards of sediment that they claim will magically be flushed over 250 miles to the ocean. The liability issues will be massive, but that's ok because Californians will pay for it, as well as paying for dam removal from Prop 1 money that was to build more water storage, not take it away. The people that live around these reservoirs are losing everything. Their homes will be worthless when they lose their groundwater wells, lose their homeowners insurance, and for some, their homes will be condemned due to slope instability, all with no recourse. Such a great idea! I guess we need more homeless people.

RHS Jul 15, 2021 06:30 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Tiring to repeat this: 80% or more of the water used in CA is for agriculture. This water is cheap because water law gives these folks early claim on the supply. Consequently they can use it with little regard to conservation and send alfalfa to Saudi Arabia, almonds to China, pomegranates to God knows where. If these users reduced their consumption by a measly 10% there would be not crisis. Instead they have conned us into believing that people who use water when brushing their teeth or dare to wash their car or their garden are the culprits. People, stand up and fight back against Big Ag which is just corporate muscle.

a-1626409576 Jul 15, 2021 09:26 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Besides not buying pistachios or almonds or almond milk. And buying at Farmer's Market.
What else?
Not sure who to lobby in CA, not even sure which committee, though obviously it would be Natural Resources and Agriculture committees.
I've been most concerned with the fate of democratic practice in America. But yeah, this is as important.

RHS Jul 16, 2021 09:00 AM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

In my opinion the best way to address this artificial crisis is to let you elected rep's know that you do not buy the guilt trip and demand that they go for the actual wasted water creators. This means dealing with big Ag and to a lesser extent with industry, the most wasteful water user of which is oil/gas. If the legislature and governor would point to these issues we might make some progress but of course, they are huge contributors to the political committees that are the mother's milk of pols.

a-1626409351 Jul 15, 2021 09:22 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

It seems that people don't really pay attention until such declarations help with public education. Just look at the prevalence of lawns. The old days of painting them didn't enough of a difference. But I do agree that ag is the problem. Open air watering! Who does that any more? And ag uses flood irrigation in places.

I recommend gray water from your washing machine to everyone. And other steps.

a-1626411432 Jul 15, 2021 09:57 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

I just figure that because someone else wastes water doesn't mean I have to. I feel good about taking steps and my garden appreciates it.
I urge more of us to put in graywater and rain collection systems. Your plants and trees will thank you.

Sail380 Jul 16, 2021 12:09 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Good start locally would be to turn off UCSB's, and all government air conditioning . Water waste for large scale air conditioning make agriculture water use look efficient. Also would eliminate the enormous use of greenhouse gasses. Most of history's smartest scientist and leaders didn't have air conditioning!!!

Byzantium Jul 16, 2021 01:06 PM
Supervisors Proclaim Local Emergency Caused by Drought Conditions

Lots of central valley almond orchards are now getting replaced with pistachio trees - a tree from the drier Middle East areas - less water demand than almonds (10-30%), but also far more durable and will survive long stretches of drought and can come back and be productive again. A better long-term investment, when water supplies are so often tenuous in this area. Also a super-food, so that is a win-win.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.