Santa Barbara

Newsom’s pragmatism on desalination, Diablo Canyon nuclear plant makes sense – California

The editorial board operates independently from the U-T newsroom but holds itself to similar ethical standards. We base our editorials and endorsements on reporting, interviews and rigorous debate, and strive for accuracy, fairness and civility in our section. Disagree? Let us know. A strong case can be made that modern environmentalism was born in California.

In 1864, Yosemite Valley and a nearby grove of sequoias became the nation’s first publicly protected wilderness area. Exactly 100 years later, after many other environmental landmarks, the state issued the world’s first tailpipe-emission standards. This history is and should be a source of immense pride.

But sometimes that environmentalism must be tempered with a touch of pragmatism. This essentially is the argument that Gov. Gavin Newsom has made of late about opposition to desalination and nuclear power.


Santa Barbara to Get Only 5 Percent of State Water – California

Ray Stokes has never been one for hair-on-fire histrionics. After serving 26 years as the resident Wizard of Oz running the Central Coast Water Authority  Stokes knows a thing or two about droughts. The one California now finds itself caught in might be the worst.

“It’s very drastic,” stated the usually understated Stokes. Stokes was referring to last week’s decision by the State Water Resources Control Board to limit deliveries to no more than 5 percent of entitled allotments.

That means the Central Coast Water Agency (CCWA) will be allowed to take only 2,275 acre-feet this year.


Despite Expected Rainfall, Santa Barbara County Still at 10-Year Low

Santa Barbara County is experiencing its lowest rainfall in 10 years, a scenario that is likely the new normal.

“There is substantial uncertainty about how climate change will affect precipitation in our county,” said Matt Young, Santa Barbara County’s water agency manager.

“However, the best available science indicates that we may see longer drought periods punctuated by years with more intense rainfall.”


Santa Barbara’s bird refuge water level drops, revealing another sign of the on going drought – California

only need to take a walk or a drive by the Andree Clark Bird Refuge in Santa Barbara on Cabrillo Blvd. to see how tiny the rainfall runoff has been this year.

The shores are longer and deeper than normal. The undergrowth smells. The appearance is dismal.

Fortunately it is not a main water source for the city. That is a combination of several inputs including water from Cachuma Lake, underground wells and the desalination plant in use regularly along with conservation efforts and reclaimed water.


Water Authority Fears Santa Barbara County at Disadvantage by Failing to Approve Amendments – California

Leaders of the Central Coast Water Authority fear that Santa Barbara County is at a disadvantage in obtaining state water because of the county’s failure to adopt an amendment to the State Water Project that allows local water districts to buy and sell water supplies outside the county.

The CCWA is an umbrella organization for all of the State Water Project members in Santa Barbara County.

The CCWA has requested that the Board of Supervisors approve Amendment 21, which allows State Water Project purveyors to buy and sell water outside of the county, three times with no luck, Jim Youngson, principal at Terrain Consulting, told Noozhawk.


Impacts of climate change on our water and energy systems: it’s complicated – California

As the planet continues to warm, the twin challenges of diminishing water supply and growing energy demand are intensifying.

But because water and energy are inextricably linked, as we try to adapt to one challenge – say, by getting more water via desalination or water recycling – we may be worsening the other challenge by choosing energy-intensive processes.

So, in adapting to the consequences of climate change, how can we be sure that we aren’t making problems worse?


Santa Barbara Council Accepts $10 Million Matching Grant to Operate Desalination Plant – California

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to accept a $10 million grant — with the understanding that it will run the plant at full capacity for at least 36 out of the next 40 years.

Some environmentalists objected to the council’s decision, citing environmental concerns.

The city was awarded a $10 million matching grant in 2018 from the California Department of Water Resources for the reactivation of the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant, 525 E. Yanonali St.


Santa Barbara’s Water Outlook Foresees Sufficient Supply to Meet Demands Through Fall 2022 – California

Santa Barbara’s water supplies are on the way to recovery followed by three average or above-average rainy seasons.

The city’s water-supply forecasting shows there’s sufficient supply to meet demands through fall 2022, while allowing groundwater basins to slowly recover and rest, water supply analyst Dakota Corey told the city’s Water Commission at Thursday’s special meeting.

The availability of water from Gibraltar Reservoir, upstream on the Santa Ynez River, in the past few years as well as Santa Barbara’s desalination plant operation and water conservation have enabled the city to accumulate a significant amount of stored water in Lake Cachuma, Corey said.


As Groundwater Basins ‘Rest,’ Santa Barbara Looks to Reservoirs for Future Water Supplies – California

This winter has started out as a wet one, but even if the rain tapers off, Santa Barbara can meet the water demands of its customers through 2022 with existing supplies, according to city staff.

It’s been more than eight years since Lake Cachuma filled up and spilled, and groundwater basins all over Santa Barbara County are at historically low levels after being heavily pumped during the long drought.

Groundwater well pumps are off to help basins “rest,” and it will take an estimated five years for the basins to recover from the drought, water supply analyst Dakota Corey told the city’s Water Commission at Thursday’s meeting. That’s how long it took after the drought in the early 1990s, she said.


Santa Barbara Close to 2020 Renewable Energy Goal – California

With eight months left until the end of the year, the City of Santa Barbara is 8 percent shy of its goal to have half the power used by its municipal buildings come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Since the Santa Barbara City Council committed to the goal in 2017, the city started installing three small scale solar arrays, two at fire stations and the last at the Eastside Branch Library, which began going up only this past week, said Alelia Parenteau, Energy Program supervisor at city Public Works.

More solar arrays are being designed for the Santa Barbara airport and Granada Garage.