Santa Ynez Valley residents looking for a big rush of water flowing from Cachuma Lake in August might be disappointed this year — no release has been requested.

Officials, however, may discuss a release later in the year next week.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water rights for the Cachuma Project come with terms requiring the agency to release water at the request of the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District on behalf of downstream water users, said Duane D. Stroup, deputy area manager for the bureau’s South Central California Area Office.

“This year SYRWCD has yet to ask for such a release,” Stroup said in an Aug. 7 email. “We have a call next week where [the Bureau of] Reclamation and SYRWCD will discuss a release later this year.”

Water is still being released from Cachuma Lake via an outlet beneath Bradbury Dam at an average rate of 7.7 acre-feet a day, according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s daily operations report for the Cachuma Project.

U.S. Geological Survey flow gauges downstream are registering zero or very close to it.

As of Aug. 8, Cachuma Lake was holding 150,844 acre-feet, or 78% of its 193,305 acre-foot capacity according to the daily operations report.

An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, roughly the amount of water required to meet the annual needs of six people in most urban environments.

According to the Bureau of Reclamation’s daily operations report, since Aug. 1 the lake has lost an average of 51.55 acre-feet per day to evaporation, and an average of 51.23 acre-feet per day has been released into the Tecolote Tunnel to serve South Coast users.


News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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