Solvang’s New Water Well Proposal in the Santa Ynez River

  • Goal: Ensure adequate flows in the Santa Ynez River necessary to protect the endangered Southern California Steelhead Trout and to allow for public enjoyment and recreation on the River
  • Year Started: 2016
  • Client: CalTrout

The City of Solvang petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to drill new water wells in the Santa Ynez River. These wells are proposed in a currently untapped area of the River, and would expand the City’s ability to divert more water from the River. Unfortunately, these new wells would reduce the surface water flow as well as available water downstream, affecting critical habitat for the endangered California Steelhead Trout and opportunities for public recreation. The Environmental Defense Center has a long history of working to protect endangered steelhead trout, especially in the Santa Ynez River where populations were once over 20,000.

EDC is working on behalf of CalTrout to convince the SWRCB to deny the City’s petition to drill new water wells. Denial is necessary to ensure there are adequate flows for steelhead to migrate to their spawning grounds and to preserve the River as a public trust resource. As California continues to experience severe drought conditions, the City must reduce its reliance on water from the Santa Ynez River and focus on improving water conservation efforts.

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