To provide flood protection and water conservation, and to promote an adequate water supply for the residents of Santa Barbara County.
Major Goals of Division:
- To protect public health and safety by maximizing flood protection.
- To conserve storm, flood and other surface waters for beneficial use.
- To maintain high level of performance.
- To provide water resource information.
People within the Water Resources Division provide staff support to both the Santa Barbara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the County Water Agency. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors acts as the Board of Directors of Flood Control and the Water Agency.
The primary purpose of Flood Control is to provide flood protection and to conserve storm, flood and surface waters for beneficial public use. When Flood Control was first created in 1955 by the State legislature in response to severe flooding and damage suffered from storms in the early 1950s, its primary charge was to implement a program of channel maintenance and capital improvements to mitigate the threat to life and property from flooding.
Flood Control was empowered through Chapter 74 of the California Water Code to pursue various activities including the control of flood and storm waters and the conservation of such waters for beneficial use, to cooperate with other federal, state, and local agencies; and to review adequacy of drainage plans for new subdivisions within the County.
Today, Flood Control's major programs involve channel maintenance, design and construction of capital improvements, review of new development, and operation of a hydrological data collection/flood warning system. Flood Control is divided into ten active flood control zones including most of the county unincorporated area and the seven cities in the County.
The Water Agency was established by the state legislature in 1945 to control and conserve storm, flood and other surface waters for beneficial use and to enter into contracts for water supply. Today, the Water Agency is primarily involved in projects for the storage, diversion, transportation, delivery and sale of water. It prepares investigations and reports on the County's water requirements, the water needs of projected development and the efficient use of water. It provides technical assistance to other County departments, water districts, and the public concerning water availability and water well locations and design. The Water Agency also administers the Cachuma Project and the Twitchell Dam Project contracts with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The Water Agency was originally empowered under State Water Code Section 3000 et seq. to cooperate and contract with the United States and the State of California on behalf of municipalities and districts within the Agency's boundaries. It has since been empowered to also acquire property, condemn for the purpose of right-of-way, and assume indebtedness either as principle, guarantor, or underwriter.