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Lake and reservoir water levels at healthy levels on Central Coast

Lopez Lake
Posted at 11:29 PM, Mar 03, 2023

The recent storms in California added water to local lakes and reservoirs.

With recent rain over the last two months, water levels are as high as 100 percent.

"After years of prolonged drought, recent storms resulted in the wettest three-week period on record in California," said Santa Barbara County Public Works Public Information Officer Lael Wageneck.

The historic influx of rain is making a significant impact on the Central Coast.

"Overall, we can see that the reservoir is filled up," said Wageneck. "On January 1st, Lake Cachuma was at 33 percent capacity. After the storms on January 9th, it rose to about 80 percent and eventually made its way to 100 percent."

Reservoirs and lakes across the Central Coast are filling up near full capacity.

"Gibraltar Reservoir on December 1st of last year was around 20 percent capacity," said Wageneck. "It reached full capacity on January 6th."

Lopez Lake visitors saying the change is noticeable.

"Last year, you couldn't even put the kayaks in the water," said Mark Messbarger, a Lopez Lake visitor. "It was a mud puddle."

"We've been out there when it was 22 percent ever since January 9th," said Noel Untalan, a Lopez Lake visitor. "We have been checking it every day and it just creeps up."

Visitors are once again making their way out to Lopez Lake.

"You are able to put the kayaks in," said Messbarger. "We went probably further back than we have in three years for for the lake level. It's pretty nice, a little dirty right now because all the runoff, but it's going to be a good year for this lake."

"We've been watching it all the time, so we're happy to be out here with our family and just check it out," said Untalan.

Even with the recent storms, the state of California is still in the middle of a drought.

"Droughts are based on climatic conditions and not just on reservoir levels," said Wageneck. "On February 13th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to protect the state's water supplies from the impacts of climate driven extremes and weather."

History states there is still a chance for the numbers of water levels to drop.

"In 2011, Lake Cachuma was at 100 percent," said Wageneck. "In 2016, the lake was back down to 7 percent."