Sustainability Plan and Progress Reports
2021 marks the ninth year of implementing the Goleta Water District Sustainability Plan. The environment in which the District operates has changed considerably over that nine-year period. In 2012, surface water supplies were plentiful, the Goleta Groundwater Basin was full, and the District was not relying on imported water through the State Water Project to meet customer demand. At the same time, the District was one year into what would become the most severe drought on record in the history of the Goleta Valley. Lake Cachuma dropped to as low as 7% of capacity, imported water availability hit record lows, and groundwater replaced water from Lake Cachuma as the primary source of supply for District customers. Investments shifted from initiatives like hydroelectric turbines and solar energy projects, to activities that focused on strengthening the reliability of District water supplies and the infrastructure necessary to pump and deliver groundwater to customers.
The Sustainability Plan was designed to be adaptable and capable of adjusting to changing conditions. The recent historic drought, wildfires in the Lake Cachuma watershed, and a global pandemic have tested that adaptability. Looking back and reflecting on progress the District has made implementing specific initiatives included in the Sustainability Plan and subsequent Progress Reports, as well as evaluating how approaches for meeting the fundamental principles of this Plan have shifted, allows the District to move forward more effectively.
Looking forward, the District Sustainability Plan will continue to adapt and grow. We cannot know for certain what the future may bring, but the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of operations, minimize costs, enhance water supply reliability and emergency preparedness, and keep customers informed remains a key component of fulfilling the District’s mission of providing quality water at a reasonable cost well into the future.