Water in the Santa Ynez Riverbed is a nice sight on a hot summer day.
“It’s beautiful for us locals. I live a few blocks away and I’ve been coming down here and even fishing in the river when I was a kid,” said river visitor, Ron Bender.
This water isn’t always here however. The water currently flowing underneath the Alisal Bridge in Solvang is from a water release at Cachuma Lake.
“We started releasing 180 ft per second water from the outlets of Brabury Dam in the Cachuma Reservoir and you can see by Friday the water is well distributed,” explained Bruce Wales, General Manager of the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District.
This water will be traveling for 40 miles down the Santa Ynez Riverbed. Once the water arrives in Lompoc, it will help recharge the groundwater basin.
“In 10 days it will be approaching the Lompoc plain where we intend to recharge about 800 acre feet of water, with our total release being approximately 10 thousand acre feet,” Wales said.
While some may be upset at the release from Cachuma as water levels there haven’t been very high, Wales says it’s necessary to keep up the livelihood of the communities that surround the Santa Ynez Valley.
“Water and electricity are just about essential to any health or welfare or economy along the river and so it’s essential that we deliver this water.”
Currently the reservoir at Cachuma Lake is at 37 percent. You can monitor the reservoir levels and get a live look at the lake on the county’s website.