Wednesday, December 7 , 2016, 7:26 am | Fair 43º


Counting Every Drop: UCSB, Goleta Water District Team Up for Community Lecture Series on Water

South Santa Barbara County is no stranger to water shortages. Whether because of population growth, increased agricultural and other water-intensive operations or drought, the history of the area is punctuated by efforts to obtain more water. And yet, especially in wet years when the reservoirs are full and Lake Cachuma spills, people seem to have no idea that the next shortage may be just around the corner.

Bob Wilkinson
Bob Wilkinson (James Badham photo)

“I like to use a quote by John Steinbeck from East of Eden,” said Matthew O’Carroll, refuse, recycling and water efficiency manager for the facilities management department at UC Santa Barbara.

“‘And it never fails that during the dry years people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way,’” he said, quoting the quintessentially Californian author.

To break that cycle of forgetfulness, especially in light of the worst drought in California history, UCSB and Goleta Water District are starting a Community Lecture Series on critical and state water issues.

The series, called “Water (we going to do)?” is aimed at informing the UCSB and local communities of the way our local and regional water infrastructure works, what issues affect supply and delivery and what users can do to assure themselves and their community of an adequate supply through these dry years. The series is free and open to the public.

“Water is California’s most precious resource,” O’Carroll said.

Last year, O’Carroll, then a Bren School of Environmental Science & Management grad student, and five fellow students developed a Water Action Plan that includes water infrastructure improvements, operations optimizations and administrative recommendations to save and conserve water across campus. The plan was the first of its kind in the UC system. And it couldn’t come too soon: Santa Barbara County is among the worst hit by drought conditions in the state.

The first session of the series, titled “California’s Water Resources and Our Drought,” will provide an overview of the state’s water resources and drought actions.

Bob Wilkinson, professor in the Bren School and in the Department of Environmental Studies, will discuss the water conveyance systems in California, what the drought means for the state’s water supplies and actions being undertaken by state agencies. Presentations will also be made by other speakers from UCSB and by representatives from GWD. A second session will include updates on the precarious water situation and responses by local agencies, and the third session is expected to review the drought conditions as the summer progresses.

“My hope is that community members will leave each lecture with a better understanding of how much water they use and they will be inspired to implement specific water saving actions such as reducing landscape irrigation as the drought continues,” said Misty Williams, the water conservation coordinator for Goleta Water District.

GWD has already declared a Stage 1 water shortage and has asked its customers to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent.

The first session of the series will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 20 at UCSB’s Bren Hall, Room 1414. After 5 p.m., visitors can park in Lot 10 and Lot 6 with a valid visitor permit.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

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 >