The dry winter we have been experiencing reminds us of the importance of our water supplies in Santa Barbara. We can help stretch our supplies during dry times by using water wisely every day.

Santa Barbara’s residents and businesses have done a great job conserving water over the past 25 years, but there is still a need for increased landscape water conservation.

About half of the water used in the city goes to outdoor irrigation, and that is where there is the most potential for water savings. For comparison, an average 15-minute shower uses 30 gallons total, while watering your lawn for 15 minutes on average uses 700 gallons! The city is asking businesses and residents to reduce outside water use now.

Everyone can help increase outdoor water conservation. Right now, one of the best things you can do is to check your irrigation system. Turn on your sprinklers to make sure they are working properly and not spraying onto the driveway or street. Then turn down your watering using the watering percent adjust at

The city can help you do this with a free water checkup for your home or business. To schedule, call 805.564.5460.

“Currently, the city’s water usage is higher than normal due to increased irrigation of gardens and lawns because of the lack of winter rainfall and higher than average temperatures,” said Alison Jordan, water conservation supervisor. “However, even given the warm weather, currently plants only need approximately 40 percent of what they would need in the summer.”

You can find the current percentage by using the watering percent adjust online, or watch the video above about how to use the watering percent adjust.

To lessen the impact of a water supply shortage, we can all be making efforts to save water now. More information about how you can save water around your house and property can be found by clicking here or by contacting your water provider. is the countywide online resource for water conservation and contains: sprinkler scheduling tools, irrigation how-to videos, a water wise plant and garden database, and water conservation programs offered by each water provider. Let’s save together!

— Alison Jordan is a water conservation supervisor for the City of Santa Barbara.