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.
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.