Wednesday, November 22 , 2017, 8:39 am | Fair 61º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Montecito Water District to Consider Drought Rate Pricing to Make Up for Low Water Sales

Montecito residents are conserving water, which is good news and bad news for the water district.

The area was at risk of running completely dry by July until the Montecito Water District board implemented rationing in March. With conservation rates on the rise, the district is now worried about the budget deficit from fewer water sales.

For the fiscal year that started July 1, water sales are 49 percent below what they were last year.

The district sold 345.56 acre-feet of water in October, the seventh month with rationing policies and penalties in place. It’s the smallest amount for October since at least 1996, according to the district.

At this rate, the district will end the year $4 million in the red.

Although the penalties have brought in $1.58 million in fines so far this year, the money doesn’t make up for the diminished water sales, business manager Mark Carlson said.

There will be no way for the district to make up for the loss in revenues other than putting a temporary drought rate structure in place, he said.

District directors unanimously approved hiring Berkeley-based Bartle Wells Associates to review the rate and penalty structure and develop drought rates.

Neighboring Santa Barbara implemented drought rates in July and customers have had bigger water bills as a result. Those rates are structured to encourage conservation, with higher rates for higher water use.

If Montecito pursues a rate increase, it must go through a Proposition 218 process, which requires research justifying the need for the utility rate increase and public hearings. 

Noozhawk news editor 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.

  • 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 >

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



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 >