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Parks and Recreation Drought ResponseParks & Recreation

How We're Doing Our Part During the Drought


At Parks and Rec, we're doing all we can to cut our water use, but we're not forgetting our mission.

We're still committed to safeguarding public resources and providing safe, fun recreation opportunities to enhance the health and well-being of the Santa Barbara community.

In recent months, you may have noticed that the lawns at certain Santa Barbara parks and public facilities have been turning gold as the effects of drought conditions begin to show themselves. Our department is doing its part along with the rest of the community.

View PDF of Our Strategic Drought Plan

Here are a few key points from the Strategic Drought Response Plan we recently finalized and presented to the Santa Barbara City Council: 

We analyzed our water use and prioritized which areas really need water.

We took a number of factors into consideration, including:

  1. Would we do major damage (either short- or long-term) by cutting our water use here?
  2. Is this area home to historic or rare trees and plants?
  3. How many people use this area for recreation on a regular basis?

Because turf (grassy areas) needs so much water to stay green, we've cut back on watering some of our lawns. Before deciding where to save water, we considered whether or not an area would become unsafe if we cut back or stopped irrigation (an example might be a ballfield), how much recreational use each area of turf sees, and a number of other factors.

For instance, at Santa Barbara Golf Club, the City's municipal golf course, we considered which areas of the course could be left dry without significantly inconveniencing golfers: if an area of the golf course has gone gold, it's likely an area most golfers don't stray into during a game.

Read more: the complete text of our Strategic Drought Response Plan is available as a PDF here.

Let's save together! Remember, gold is the new green.

To find out more about our forestry program's drought response, please visit, or to learn about other City of Santa Barbara departments' resources, visit

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018
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