As citizens of Santa Barbara and Los Baños facility users, you are most likely highly aware of the drought conditions facing our community and the recent Stage 2 drought declaration by the Santa Barbara City Council.
The Parks and Recreation Department Aquatic Section have been developing a conservation and reduction plan for the Los Baños pool and facility. A recent analysis of the Los Baños shower and restroom facilities confirmed that the average monthly water use from July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013 was 86,269 gallons, or 1,035,232 for the full year.
This is not the first time Santa Barbara has experienced adversity and challenges related to a severe drought, but we are much better prepared to make adjustments and conserve water than in past years. Following the 1998 facility remodel significant efforts not pre-empted by a looming drought have been made to reduce water use; including the installation of low flow showerheads, sink aerators, dual flush toilets and waterless urinals. Over the coming weeks you will see more aggressive measures being implemented to further reduce and conserve water.
• New lower flow showerheads will be installed. This will reduce our current gallon-per-minute (gpm) flow from 1.35gpm to 0.875gpm, a 54% reduction.
• New signage consistent with all City facilities will be installed requesting users to not exceed showers 5 minutes in length.
• If the drought continues and as necessary, a reduction in the amount of available shower heads will be available.
• The West Beach Wading Pool is closed until further notice (Oak Park’s wading pool will be open as usual).
It is our hope that the combination of mechanical changes, a heightened awareness and a conscientious effort by facility users to take shorter showers will significantly lower our aquatic footprint.
You will also notice that we have eliminated routine deck washing. Maintenance staff will be using a combination of blowing debris and dust of the pool deck with spot cleaning using water buckets and brooms. When necessary, maintenance staff may use water from a hose with a high-pressure nozzle to maintain any area that presents a health and safety concern for our facility users. You only need to look at the inhabitants of our surrounding trees to recognize our primary challenge.
As staff and facility users, we are all in this together.