by Nina Warner
Let’s have a look at the current water situation as of 3 December 2017:
Cachuma Lake (max. storage: 193,305 acre feet)
currently 75,531 af which translates into 39.1% capacity
Gibraltar Reservoir (max.storage: 4,968 acre feet)
currently 1,749 af or 35.2% capacity
Jameson Lake (max. storage: 5,144 acre feet)
currently 2,594 af or 50.7% capacity
A ‘Water Year’ runs from September 1 to August 31, so we are now in the 2017-2018 Water Year.
Last Water Year (2016-2017) rainfall totals were:
Cachuma 25.47 inches – 120%
Gibraltar 31.15 inches – 118%
Jameson 30.31 inches – 117%
This was supposedly our drought-breaker year – most of the rain came in a couple of big storms in January and February. Since then, there hasn’t been much to write home about.
Rose Compass started this project August 1, 2016 with our first meeting of the group of artists. Our first outing together was to paint at Cachuma Lake on August 16. We have tracked the Santa Ynez River watershed over a full Water Year – through the worst of the roughly 5-year drought, the huge Rey fire (3 days after our first painting day!), the major storms of January and February, the slow drying up of the watershed and then the devastating Whittier Fire and the Alamo Fire in July.
Our 2017 fall weather has had record-breaking heat waves and no measurable rain. Will we have another season of big winter storms?
Who knows – we don’t hear much “el Niño” or “la Niña” talk anymore.