The City is a participant in the State Water Project and receives State Water via the 102 mile Coastal Branch of the State Aqueduct and the 42 mile Santa Ynez Extension that was completed in July 1997 and ends at Lake Cachuma. When needed, South Coast participants receive State Water through the Tecolote Tunnel, intermingled with Cachuma water, but accounted for separately.
The City's entitlement is 3,300 acre feet per year, subject to availability. Average deliveries to the City are estimated at 1,151 acre feet per year under the 2011 Long Term Water Supply Plan, with annual deliveries projected to range from 363 AF per year to 1,650 AF per year. The amount of water that can be delivered throughout California from the State Water Project varies year to year based on rainfall and riparian flow rates.
The City typically takes State Water deliveries of approximately 600 to 700 AF pursuant to its obligation under the Exchange Agreement with the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District, Improvement District No. 1. Aside from this, water is ordered annually on an as-needed basis to replace local surface supplies lost to drought or as a result of other shortages. In recent years, delivery requests have been mostly limited to the amount required by the Exchange Agreement. The variable costs for State Water are approximately $160/AF for Exchange Water and about $300/AF for deliveries of Table A water into Lake Cachuma. The total Project capital costs include costs for the State portion and the local Central Coast Water Authority (CCWA) portion of the Project. Fixed costs are the major portion of total costs and are about $1,400/AF.