Santa Barbara advances Vic Trace Reservoir replacement with new contracts


California Construction News staff writer

The City of Santa Barbara says it has has taken a major step forward on the Vic Trace Reservoir construction project by awarding contracts for the environmental and design phases.

The initiative is important for maintaining a safe and resilient water delivery system for the community both now and in the future. The reservoir, located in the Alta Mesa neighborhood, holds ten million gallons and is an essential part of the city’s water distribution network, serving nearly 60,000 customers or about 70% of Santa Barbara’s population.

Currently in its seventh decade, the aging infrastructure is reaching the end of its functional life and requires frequent repairs and maintenance.

An extensive, multi-year project will build a new reservoir with the same capacity. Additionally, nearby pipelines, valves, and pump stations will be assessed for necessary repairs and replacements. The project aims to enhance reliability against natural disasters and climate change impacts, while also improving water quality and system operations for the entire city.

At the same time, the city is working on security measures across all its water infrastructure sites to meet federal regulations and further protect the water supply.

Facilities fall within the projected demolition and construction area for the new buried reservoirs. The city has collaborated with several partners to dismantle a 45-foot cellular tower on site and is assisting others in relocating remaining facilities.

As work progresses, city staff are planning a community design workshop for winter 2025. For more information about the project, visit


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