Saturday, June 23 , 2018, 4:44 am | Fog/Mist 60º


Creativity in Saving Water Pays Off for Consumers During Drought

California may be drying up, but the ideas and actions taken by Santa Barbara County residents and local agencies illustrate some outstanding creativity in dealing with the water shortage.

Consider this:

» A Montecito elementary school converted an expansive lawn in front of its administration building into a no-water play area.

» In Carpinteria, 67 rebates were issued in the last seven months for high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers.

» The number of Santa Barbara city water checkups doubled in 2014, from 347 to 784 in the last year and in the same time period, smart landscape rebate program pre-inspections quadrupled from 58 to 243.

» Fifteen low-flow toilet rebates were issued in Solvang.

» In Vandenberg Village, 13 landscape rebates have been issued, resulting in the replacement of 19,258 square feet of grass.

» A church in Montecito partnered with environmental groups to remove the lawn and replace it with a rain garden/demonstration area for drought-tolerant plants.

» As part of the Water Wise in Santa Barbara County video contest, high school students created water-saver public service spots that run on TV and before feature presentations at local movie theaters.

» Carpinteria nurseries are voluntarily using recycled water.

» New grant funds for landscape rebates were secured from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

These achievements are just a few examples of how working together to save water is helping the environment and preserving valuable resources. From the need to conserve water has come creative collaboration between groups and residents determined to do their part to save Santa Barbara so the taps don’t run dry.

As a result of this collaboration, Montecito has reduced its water consumption by 42 percent, Vandenberg Village has reduced its by 21 percent and Santa Barbara's parks and recreation facilities, including its golf courses, have reduced water use by 36 percent. That 36 percent equals 30 million gallons of water!

A multimedia approach was launched this spring by the county, in cooperation with local water providers, using print ads, radio ads, broadcast public service announcements and new social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to convey the seriousness of the drought and the importance of water saving efforts, as well as an expanded website ( dedicated to providing support and information to all consumers. Perhaps with some help fro these outreach efforts, residents have clearly taken effective actions to save water and no doubt will continue to be water wise.

— Carol Rock is a publicist representing WaterWise Santa Barbara County.

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