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Water to be released over the Lake Cachuma spillway, 1st time in nearly a decade

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Posted at 12:01 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 22:24:21-05

The Bureau of Reclamation will release water over the Lake Cachuma spillway because of the rain for the first time in about a decade starting Friday.

The release of 2,000 cubic feet per second is to limit the threat of flooding downstream of the Santa Ynez River. Michael Jackson, the area manager for the South-Central California Office of the Bureau of Reclamation, says since the 1st of the year, the lake has gained over 100,000 acre feet of water and has risen 50 feet in elevation. Jackson says the water flowing downstream has debris in it and has been fast-moving over the past week.

“A cubic foot is about the size of a basketball. What was experienced at 20,000 cubic feet per second, that means 20,000 basketballs are coming at you every second. We're looking at putting 2,000 cubic feet per second for the next few days starting tomorrow, so that's still 2,000 basketballs coming at you every second,” said Jackson.

The Bureau of Reclamation provides water delivery services for parts of Santa Barbara County from Lake Cachuma including Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Montecito. Jackson says the amount of water they plan to release over the spillway in the future depends on how much rain the area continues to get.