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Gibraltar Reservoir spills over dam for first time in 5 years

Hydrologists measure water in Water Years or (WY} that begin September 1 and end August 31.

In this WY Gibraltar Reservoir has received 15.79 inches so far, enough to make it spill over the dam for the first time in 5 years.

It’s a watermark worth celebrating, but Joshua Hagmark, Santa Barbara’s conservation coordinator, said the area is not over the drought.

Gibraltar is about 9 miles from Santa Barbara and serves as a source for about a third of the city of Santa Barbara’s water supply.

The reservoir, upstream from Cachuma Reservoir, once held 14,500 acre feet of water, but now holds only 5,300 acre feet due to silting.

Haggmark said it is only 1/40th the capacity of Cachuma at 200,000 AF.

Water spilling from Gibraltar will go into the Santa Ynez River and recharge Cachuma Lake.

Cachuma is still too low to spill but it could be next if it gets about 90 more feet of water.

If the rainy season continues in February and March it is sure to improve the water situation

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