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Goleta Water District Declares Drought, Asks Customers to Voluntarily Cut Use 20%

Like other local districts, customer demand is the highest it’s ever been because of the warm winter weather and lack of rainfall

The Goleta Water District board declared a drought Tuesday, a month behind all its neighbors, and will ask all customers to voluntarily cut water use by 20 percent.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought in mid-January, closely followed by the City of Solvang and Santa Barbara County, which formed its own drought task force.

In February, the water agencies in Carpinteria, Montecito and Santa Barbara declared droughts and called for voluntary or mandatory conservation measures. Montecito Water District leaders have already implemented a mandatory rationing system to cut back on the high demand of their residential customers.

Goleta has been more confident, due mostly to the copious groundwater supplies. The district will rely much more on groundwater over time and is adding new wells.

It’s the first time in recent memory that it relied on groundwater as a primary water source, since surface water supplies from Lake Cachuma and the State Water Project are dwindling.

Like other districts, customer demand in Goleta is the highest it’s ever been because of the warm winter weather and lack of rainfall. Even so, at February’s board meeting, General Manager John McInnes said the district probably won’t consider mandatory water cuts until August.

For voluntary 20 percent cuts, the district suggests examining outdoor use. Customers can reduce a lot by planting California-friendly plants and trees, reducing lawn size and using a broom to clean driveways instead of a hose.

The district also offers free home or business water surveys to help people monitor their use.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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