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Montecito Creek 200 Acre Feet

Yearly Storage Facility

Fish and Groundwater Benefits

Montecito Creek has great potential for stormwater capture and storage because it drains so much urban hardscape, drains miles of sandstone hills and has area for storage.


We offer a plan to capture 200 acre feet a year from this creek at the Olive Mill fish ladder location. Here the creek is in a concrete channel and rushes unhndered toward the ladder and debris basin. The plan captures water in our cube placed just below the Casa Dorito bridge, where stormwater is easily available and has proper velocity and elevation decent to be captured. USGS suggests this creek outputs over 2,000 AF a year, and is capable of a 100 year flood potential of 6,000+ CFS.


The water we capture is from storm flow peaks and will benefit fish in several ways. First we limit storm overflows which are a result of the urbanization of the water shed area. All those roads, rooftops, school grounds and tennis courts create instant runoff to creeks. This on stand runoff creates an overburden for local creeks, steeply eroding creek beds, destroying fish habitat, while depriving local groundwater resources. By capturing and later reintroducing this water, we aid fish, creek habitat, reduce silt to ocean transfers, recharge groundwater and save millions on importing water and reduce CO2 from pumping costs.  


The stormwater is captured and shunted to a 12" pipe... that then runs along the upper banks of the channel. While the channel drops in elevation, the 12" pipe runs nearly level... eventually leaving the channel and crossing over into the adjacent field. Here we propose building a 200' x 200' x 15'  deep cistern (or larger) to store 1.8 acre feet at a time.


The cube can gather water at 35+ gallons per second, or 3,024,000 gallons a day. That's nine acre feet a day. This water can be stored on site for processing, de silting, UV treatment... and pumped out directly as it's collected to county parks, schools, 101 green belts, and various farms and orchards. This method will fully over irrigate county parks during rain events and will store water for the months ahead. The more storage the better. We recommend multiple storage areas up and down each creek to create mass local storage.

Nine acre feet a day times 30 days gives 270 AF or 87 Million gallons. If this is used to replace imported water at 1.4 cents a gallon that's $1,231,716 in cash savings every year.

Also this water could be sold to the desal plant as an alternative to salt filled sea water.

Below are several videos describing the general plan. Details of the various components such as storage, pumping stations, and cube operation are as described in other designs previously described on other creeks plans. (Please see Maria Ignacio Creek plan)

Capture Amounts 

Pipe Details - Video

Storage Options - Video

One Inch rain makes big flood on Montecito Creek at Olive Mill Rd 

One inch rain in one hour, Jan 21 2017 10:30 AM

Here is Montecito Creek looking north at the Casa Dorito entrance bridge. We propose putting a cube just up stream from the bridge, on the right side just as the bend directs to the bridge. This way we have good velocity at the edge of the channel. Also this location provides a good escape route for the pipe. Pipe will run on the right bank of the concrete channel which is nearly clear of water all the way down to the fish ladder, 158' south.

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