Pixel Tracker

Saturday, February 23 , 2019, 10:22 pm | Fair 45º


Goleta Water District Dings UCSB with a Letter of Its Flaws

Board cites inaccuracies, misinterpretations in elements of university's long-range development plan

The Goleta Water District board of directors voted Friday to send UCSB a toughly worded comment letter about the university’s development plans.

The vote was 4-0. Director Jack Cunningham was absent.

“During the scoping and initial research period of the draft environmental impact report, the district was not asked to participate in the development of the (Draft Environmental Impact Report),” the letter asserts. “Because of this, the district believes the (recirculated draft environmental impact report) present incomplete data regarding both current and future water supplies and demands.”

UCSB has embarked on the approval process for its Long-Range Development Plan, which aims to increase enrollment by 5,000 by 2025, to a total of 25,000 students. Because of local concern over the plan’s environmental impact report, UCSB recirculated the elements that discussed, among other things, housing, traffic and water. Local agencies that anticipate impacts from the development have been commenting on the recirculated EIR.

Among the issues the Goleta Water District points out in its letter are what the board is calling misinterpretations and incorrect citations of district documents used to discuss water supply; rights that UCSB claims to the water supply that the agency says are subject to modification; and under- and overestimations that UCSB makes on demand and supply of water. Click here to read the letter.

UCSB is one of the region’s largest employers, contributing an estimated 10 percent — about $1 billion — to the local economy. Its plans are to enhance education by attracting more graduate students as well as supply the needed housing for the faculty and staff needed to support the increased student body.

The university is also the Goleta Water District’s single-biggest customer. According to the district, UCSB’s demand for water at buildout would exceed the agency’s ability to supply it.

“Our goal was to write constructive comments that will be useful to UCSB in their planning process, and we believe we have done that,” said Lauren Hanson, chairwoman of the district’s UCSB Relations Committee. “As the responsible agency for water, we hope to work more closely with the university going forward.

“UCSB is a vital and vibrant place renowned for its sensitivity to environmental and global climate change issues. We want to see a campus that truly sets the standard for sustainability and respectful interaction with the community.”

The university’s plans are still subject to the UC Regents and the state Coastal Commission.

Comment period for the recirculated environmental impact report ends Monday. Click here for more information on UCSB’s Long-Range Development Plan, or to comment on the recirculated report.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >