SANTA BARBARA, CA – May 12, 2015
A Stage Three Drought Condition was declared by the Santa Barbara City Council on May 5, 2015 with mandatory water use regulations adopted on May 12 in response to the driest consecutive four years on record. The Stage Three Drought Condition requires a 25% City-wide reduction in overall water use.
The City plans for a six-year drought starting when Lake Cachuma stops spilling. Currently, City water supplies are severely reduced in capacity with Lake Cachuma at 27% of capacity and Gibraltar Reservoir at 13%. Despite extreme drought, the City is confident there will be sufficient water to meet health and safety needs, with help from the community. To offset diminished surface water supplies, the City is using Lake Cachuma water reserved from prior years, purchasing supplemental water, and using more groundwater with the help of two new wells. These measures, coupled with extraordinary conservation by our customers, have kept supplies and demand in balance.
Assuming the drought continues, minimal surface water supplies will be available by the end of 2016, groundwater levels will be reduced, and State water deliveries remain uncertain. Therefore, in June 2015, the City Council will consider reactivation of the City’s desalination facility. The cost of the project will be reflected in water rates that take effect July 2015.
As part of the Stage Three Drought Condition, the City Council adopted water use regulations which include new and existing regulations for all customers using City of Santa Barbara water. The regulations are summarized as follows, for the full text of the regulations and exceptions, please visit www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/Drought.
The City’s approach to the Stage Three Drought is a phased response with initial water use regulations to achieve a 25% conservation target and to meet new State regulations. The City has identified additional water use regulations and development restrictions that can be enacted if the cumulative demand reduction of 25% is not met or worsening water supply outlook requires additional savings from the community.
The City’s water customers have done an exemplary job at reducing water use and currently lead southern California in water savings for urban water providers. The City's Water Conservation Program is available to help everyone save water. The best way to reduce water usage now is by evaluating landscape watering and checking for leaks inside and out.
For more information on regulations, rates, rebates, and reporting water waste or violations, please visit www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/Water or call (805) 564-5460. Thank you for taking action, we are all in this together.
Contact: Madeline Ward, Acting Water Conservation Coordinator
Phone: (805) 897-2672