Sources of Water





Photo courtesy of
S.B. County Flood Control

Click to view Water Sources Diagram

The Cachuma Project is located on the Santa Ynez River approximately 25 miles northwest of Santa Barbara and stores flood waters of the Santa Ynez River which would otherwise flow to the ocean. Lake Cachuma is a reservoir that is created by Bradbury Dam, and originally had a capacity of 205,000 acre feet. It now has a capacity of approximately 190,000 acre-feet as a result of the accumulation of silt in the reservoir.

Water is diverted from Lake Cachuma through the Tecolote Tunnel, which extends approximately 6.4 miles through the Santa Ynez Mountains to the headworks of the South Coast Conduit.

The South Coast Conduit facilities include a steel pipeline which runs a distance of approximately 24 miles and four regulating reservoirs -- Glen Anne Dam and Reservoir with a capacity of 470 acre feet (which is currently not in service pending additional seismic safety review), Lauro Dam and Reservoir, with a capacity of 640 acre feet, Ortega Dam and Reservoir with a capacity of 60 acre feet, and Carpinteria Reservoir with a capacity of 44 acre feet.

The Cachuma Project is operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the South Coast Conduit facilities are operated by the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board ("COMB"), a joint powers agency which was created under the laws of the State of California by an agreement of all of the member units. The COMB Board consists of a representative appointed from each of the Member Units, the City of Santa Barbara, Goleta Water District, Carpinteria Valley Water District, the District and Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, Improvement District No. 1.

Bradbury Dam (Cachuma Lake):

Constructed: August 1950 - June 1953 Type: Earth & rock filled structure
Volume: 6.7 million cubic yards Height: 279 feet
Capacity: 190,409 acre feet Yield: 27,514 acre feet
Watershed: 421 square miles Cost: $6,722,520

The long term Cachuma Renewal Master Contract, Member Unit Contracts and Water Rates Agreement provide for continued water deliveries to the Member Units through September 30, 2020, with additional rights to renew at that time. The price of water to the District under the Renewal Contract is currently projected to be approximately $116.00 per acre foot for agricultural water and $105.00 per acre foot for municipal and industrial water.

Juncal Dam is solely owned and operated by the District.  It was constructed during the period 1921 to 1930. It was dedicated to the District on August 28, 1930. Juncal Dam, located nine air miles from Montecito near the headwaters of the Santa Ynez River, is a concrete gravity-arch dam with a height of 160 feet. 

Jameson Lake, which is formed by Juncal Dam, has a surface area of 138 acres when full and stores 5,291 acre feet or about 1.7 billion gallons.

Jameson Lake water is diverted by pipeline to the Doulton Tunnel, 2.2 miles in length, where an additional supply is gained from seepage. The water is treated at the Tunnel South Portal at the Doulton Treatment Plant and at the Bella Vista Treatment Plant, from where it is transported through the High Line transmission main to ten storage reservoirs on the south side of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Juncal Dam was strengthened in 1990.

Juncal Dam (Jameson Lake):

Volume: 2300 cubic yards Height: 80 feet
Width Across Top: 240 feet Depth below Streambed: 15 feet
Spillway Crest: 55 feet high Width: 100 feet
Watershed: 14 square miles Builders: Civilian Conservation Corps, Gilbraltar, Camp Company 2928.

The District diverts water from the Santa Ynez River at Jameson Reservoir (Juncal Dam) pursuant to the rights granted in the related actions Gin S. Chow, et al. v. City of Santa Barbara and Montecito Water District, Case No. 19188 (Super Ct., Santa Barbara Co., 1930), as affirmed by the California Supreme Court Gin S. Chow v. City of Santa Barbara, 217 Cal. 673, 22 Pac. 5 (1933). District water rights on the Santa Ynez River were again affirmed in Stephen Jordan et al. vs. City of Santa Barbara, et al., Case No. SM072350, Superior Court, Santa Barbara County, 1994, affirmed by California Appellate Court on June 27, 1996, 96 D.A.R.8028. Pursuant to these decisions and other claimed rights, as well as a special use permit issued by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Los Padres National Forest, the District also diverts water from Fox Creek and Alder Creek, tributaries of the Santa Ynez River. The District is currently involved in consultation under the Endangered Species Act with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning these tributary diversions, which may result in some reduction from the District's historic level of diversions.

  Photo courtesy of CCWA
The State Water Project is a project that delivers State Project water to communities in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties through the 102 mile Coastal Branch of the State Aqueduct and the 42 mile Santa Ynez Extension ending at Lake Cachuma. Construction was completed in April 1997.

The District originally contracted with CCWA (link to web site) under the Water Supply Agreement for 2,700 acre feet of water from the State Water Project. With the consolidation with Summerland Water District, the

District's State Water Project entitlement increased from 2,700 acre feet to 3,000 acre feet.When combined with other District sources of water, the District has adequate supplies. The District is considering whether to sell the Summerland entitlement, on an interim or permanent basis.

    Photo by J. D. Paley
Water Wells: The District pumps about 700 acre feet of groundwater per year from the Montecito Basin. Entitlements to groundwater in the Montecito Basin have not been adjudicated. The District estimates the safe yield of the Montecito Basin to be approximately 1,650 acre feet. The other groundwater pumpers in the Montecito Basin are several hundred private well owners. The amount of groundwater pumped by each of these private well owners is not accurately known by the District; however, the aggregate pumping (including District pumping) does not exceed the safe annual yield.

Faucetli.gif (445 bytes)

1998 Montecito Water District
Web design by