Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 10:00 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Santa Barbara Residents Using Less Water Than in 1990s Drought

City saw a 45-percent reduction in water use for August, which is comparable to 2013 levels

Lake Cachuma, one of the water sources for the city of Santa Barbara, is at 45 percent of capacity. City water officials say residents are using less water today than they did during the last major drought in the 1990s. Click to view larger
Lake Cachuma, one of the water sources for the city of Santa Barbara, is at 45 percent of capacity. City water officials say residents are using less water today than they did during the last major drought in the 1990s. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

Even with the addition of roughly 5,000 more people, Santa Barbara residents are using less water today than they did during the last major drought in the 1990s, according to the city.

Santa Barbara’s Water Resources Manager Joshua Haggmark described conservation levels for the month of August as “remarkable” during this week’s council meeting.

Santa Barbara is still experiencing a moderate drought, Haggmark said, but that could change soon.

“We are in the remaining, last part of this drought, and hopefully there will be a good winter here to put an end to it, but we are prepared to go forward for the next few years if things do stay dry,” Haggmark said.

The city saw a 45-percent reduction in water use for August, which is comparable to 2013 levels.

Haggmark cited water-efficient fixtures and residents' conservation habits as the reason for the drop in water use. 

“We have been able to reduce our water usage to below where we were in the 1990s,” Haggmark said. “Just because you have population growth doesn’t necessarily mean more water.”

This week, Santa Barbara's Gibraltar Reservoir was at 61 percent of capacity and Cachuma Lake was at 45 percent of capacity, Haggmark said.

Groundwater basins were at 30-percent capacity and full recovery of the basins is not expected for another five to 10 years, he added. 

Santa Barbara’s desalination plant has produced 22 million gallons of water since it was activated at the end of May, according to the city.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider said she is hopeful that the upcoming winter will lift Santa Barbara out of the drought.

“Let’s hope for steady nice rain over Gibraltar and just over the lake,” Schneider said.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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