Water security vs. water marketing: Should state water supplies be sold outside the county?
It’s not long ago that Lake Cachuma, the main water source on the South Coast, was in danger of going dry in a seven-year drought. Water agencies from Carpinteria to Goleta spent millions of dollars scrambling to buy surplus state aqueduct water from around the state to avert a local shortage. They did so not only because their groundwater levels were plunging and Cachuma was failing, but because their yearly allocations from the aqueduct had dropped to zero. Yet on Tuesday, the water managers serving Santa Maria, Buellton, Guadalupe, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito and the Santa Ynez and Carpinteria valleys will ask the County Board of Supervisors to grant them the right to sell their state water allocations outside the county — not permanently, but potentially for years at a stretch.