State Water Project
The City is a participant in the State Water Project as a Member Agency of the Central Coast Water Authority (CCWA), one of 29 State Water Project contractors. State Water is delivered via the 102 mile Coastal Branch of the State Aqueduct and the 42 mile Santa Ynez Extension that was completed in July 1997 and ends at Lake Cachuma. When needed, South Coast participants receive State Water through the Tecolote Tunnel, intermingled with Cachuma water, but accounted for separately.
The City's entitlement is 3,300 acre feet per year, subject to availability. Average "normal year" deliveries (which typically occur under average rainfall conditions) to the City are estimated at 1,800 acre feet per year under the 2020 Enhanced Urban Water Management Plan, with annual deliveries projected to range from 165 AF per year to 2,100 AF per year. The amount of water that can be delivered throughout California from the State Water Project varies year to year based on rainfall and riparian flow rates.
The City typically takes State Water deliveries of approximately 600 to 700 AF pursuant to its obligation under the Exchange Agreement with the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, Improvement District No. 1. Aside from this, water is ordered annually on an as-needed basis to replace local surface supplies lost to drought or as a result of other shortages. During drought-related water shortages, the City may also make supplemental water purchases through the State Water Project to augment depleted surface water supplies. The City works with other CCWA Member Agencies to optimize the benefit of its State Water Project allocation, including looking for opportunities to bank or store State water in wet years and secure a more reliable source of State water in dry years.
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