Lake Cachuma is the principal drinking water supply for the South Coast of Santa Barbara County providing surface water supply to the Goleta Water District, City of Santa Barbara, Montecito Water District, and Carpinteria Valley Water District. In addition, Lake Cachuma serves as the conduit for State Project water deliveries to the South Coast. Diversions from the lake are managed by Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board. Upstream of Lake Cachuma are Gibraltar Reservoir, owned by the City of Santa Barbara, and Jameson Reservoir, owned by Montecito Water District.
More than half of Lake Cachuma’s water shed has been burned by the 2016 Rey Fire and 2017 Whittier Fire and Thomas Fire. The immediate future and mid-term impacts of the fires on water quality are not fully understood. A Lake Cachuma water quality and sediment management study would develop management actions as part of a program to address raw surface water quality today and in the future. The program would include identification and characterization of issues, mitigation and control projects, and management actions that may include, but not be limited to, sampling and data collection, in-lake treatment, erosion control, and watershed management. The Program would be developed in coordination with agencies that manage, operate, and use the lake and its watershed.