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Rain in the Santa Ynez Valley more valuable now than on the front country hills

Rain in the Santa Ynez Valley is the prime target for a revival at drought dry Cachuma Lake.

Water officials are hoping for another series of storms and soon to follow up on the eight days of rain that have come through in the first part of the year.

As steady as the rain has been, the totals are not quite at the mark where there will be runoff into the lake at the flow that is necessary to make a difference after six years of drought.

About four or more inches of rain, soon could possibly start the biggest runoff in recent years.

If it hits outside of the Cachuma target it will not be as valuable.

“The rain fall we are getting in town is driving down landscape needs,” said Joshua Haggmark, Santa Barbara Water Resources Manager. “(there’s) much needed water for our trees, which is important.” He says if the area gets substantial rain, the water will be back in storage (the lake) and “reducing demand for the summer.” Haggmark said the rainfall over the Gibraltar and Cachuma watershed is the most important the area can hope for. “We really see more bang for our buck on the other side of the mountain when we get it into our into our reservoirs.” The city has been buying outside water supplies that are being delivered at full force through a pipeline into Cachuma. The water up north, however, may get a new priority review in the weeks ahead, and the local supply may not come down the line in the same order as it did in December. Currently Cachuma is about 91 percent below the spill level at Bradbury Dam.

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