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Gibraltar Dam full for the first time in years

Gibraltar Dam in the hills behind Santa Barbara has filled to capacity following several recent storms.

The water will spill with more inflow. That will go directly into the Santa Ynez River which recharges Cachuma Lake.

The lake level is at its lowest level since the reservoir was built in the late 1950’s but recently it has started to rise. The level is about 89 percent below capacity and the Gibraltar Dam over flow will certainly bring that supply back up.

Water officials are hoping for more significant storms while the hills are saturated.

Gibraltar’s total is encouraging but the dam has a significant amount of silt from runoff over the years and the recent debris from the Rey fire of 2016.

The county hydrology meters showed Gibraltar hitting the capacity mark in the overnight hours.

The Santa Barbara City Council will get an update on water supplies, conservation goals, the desalination plant timeline and Gibraltar at today’s meeting starting at 2 p.m. Water officials are expected to urge the public to be careful with their water use and not interpret the recent rain as an end to the drought that’s gripped the area for more than five years.

Governor Jerry Brown this week declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties due to weather related issues.

(More details will be posted here later today)

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