Edge of Drought Tour
Field Trip - Aug. 27-29
This tour journeyed through a scenic landscape and explored an area of California dealing with persistent threats to its water supply and quality. Along the way, we learned about solutions that were being implemented.
Although Santa Barbara County had lifted its drought emergency declaration after the 2019 storms replenished local reservoirs, the region’s hydrologic recovery has often lagged behind much of the rest of the state. It is a region particularly prone to drought, wildfires and mudslides.
It’s also a region with limited local surface and groundwater supplies. In 1991, in the midst of a drought, local voters agreed to finance facilities to treat and distribute imported water via the State Water Project through the Coastal Branch Phase II project, which was completed in 1997.
This two-and-a-half-day tour took off from Burbank and traversed parts of Southern California, starting at Pyramid Lake and venturing west into the Santa Barbara region and north to Paso Robles and Cambria.
We visited key infrastructure along the coast such as Lake Cachuma and Twitchell Reservoir as well as an atmospheric river observatory and an ocean desalination plant.
Contact Nick Gray, programs manager, with any tour questions via email or call 916-444-6240.
Planned Stops Included:
- Pyramid Lake
- Freeman Diversion Dam and fish ladder
- Ojai Valley groundwater recharge site
- Lake Casitas
- Santa Barbara desalination plant
- Atmospheric river observatory
- Lake Cachuma
- Twitchell Reservoir
- Cambria water reclamation facility
- Lopez Lake
- Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve
- Ocean and brackish water desalination
- Advanced purification and groundwater injection
- Cloud seeding
- Atmospheric river research
- Impacts of 2017 Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flows
- Seawater intrusion
- Groundwater recharge
- Drought emergency response plans
- Pervious concrete retrofitting
- Urban and agricultural water use
Tour Start and End Point:
The tour began on August 27 at 1 p.m. and ended on August 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Hollywood Burbank Airport. We spent the nights at hotels in Ventura and Paso Robles.
Regular Price – $825 (one person, single-occupancy room)
Early Bird Price – $795 if you register online by July 29. Click on the orange registration link above.
Fee included all tour meals, transportation, materials, snacks and hotel accommodations once the tour begins. Participants were responsible for their own transportation to and from the tour’s beginning and end point.
Cancellation and Refund Policy:
Deadline to cancel and receive a refund was three weeks prior to the first day of the tour due to hotel, meal and transportation bookings. Substitutions were allowed up to five business days before the tour. Refunds may be subject to a 10% processing fee.
Continuing Education Credits:
Continuing education credits were available for California attorneys for an additional fee, and may be available for water plant/wastewater plant operators and other vocations/professions.