Source: City of Santa Barbara
The Santa Barbara City Council has declared a phase two water shortage alert. This is in response to Governor Newsom’s recently issued executive orders declaring a statewide drought emergency and asking California residents to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 15%. More than 95% of California is currently experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions.
With conservation practices already adopted by residents and businesses and the city’s investment in a diversified water supply, including the activation of the city’s desalination plant, the water supply prospects of Santa Barbara are good, although extremely dry conditions persist. While Santa Barbara has experienced below average precipitation, the city’s water demands can be met for at least the next two years, even if there is no precipitation during that time. However, in recognition of the severity of drought conditions statewide and in response to Governor Newsom’s executive orders calling on all urban water providers to adopt a Tier Two response to water shortage, Santa Barbara is moving to the next step to encourage conservation.
“I am proud of the investment our community has made in diversifying our water supply for long-term reliability, and of our community members who have made real changes in their way of life to conserve and use water. water for good,” said Joshua Haggmark, Water Resources Manager. “I am confident that we will continue to come together to use only what we need, ensuring that we expand our water resources for all that awaits us in the future.”
Residents of Santa Barbara currently use the same amount of water they used in the 1950s, but with nearly double the population, highlighting the impact of water efficiency and increasingly efficient building codes . The community’s water use is currently on average 25% lower than water use before the drought in 2013. “Our residents and businesses have really invested in a ‘conservation as a way of life’ approach to the water use,” Haggmark said. “But now is the time for all of us to do a little more and be part of California’s water-saving solution.”
As part of the second stage measures, community members will be asked to prevent water wastage by:
- Using a shut-off nozzle when using an outside water hose or faucet, including washing vehicles or boats,
- Refrain from hosing down hard surfaces such as sidewalks and patios with potable water, except for preventative maintenance or health and safety,
- Irrigate with an automatic or manually operated underground irrigation system only between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., and
- Following the statewide ban on the use of potable water to irrigate non-functional turf (which is ornamental only and not regularly used for human recreation or civic events or community) on commercial, industrial and institutional sites.
Even with local rainfall totaling 67% of normal this winter, Santa Barbara’s diverse water supply can meet demand using a combination of supplies including Lake Cachuma, Gibraltar Reservoir, ocean desalination , groundwater, water imported through the State Water Project and recycled water. For more information on water supply, drought and conservation, visit www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/Drought.