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.
The Santa Barbara County Water Agency manages a number of County-wide programs which include the Integrated Regional Water Management Program, regional water efficiency program, and winter cloud seeding program.
In addition to implementing these programs, the Water Agency also compiles data and reports on groundwater conditions, participates in Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, and initiates various water supply related reports and technical studies. Major water projects involving the Water Agency include the State Water Project (Coastal Branch Extension), Cachuma Project, and Twitchell Project. For more information, please follow the links below.