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Drought Water Usage
updated: Jan 13, 2014, 1:00 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Questions about water rationing ...

We heard on the news that we will be required to reduce water usage by 25% if a drought is declared. We're assuming "they" will be monitoring water meters of "us" -- that is, homeowners paying water bills.

Our questions are: If we have already reduced our water usage to a minimum in anticipation of a drought -- stopped watering in the yard and garden and using the least amount of water possible in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry -- will we be penalized? (We assume the fines will be monetary.)

If the size of our household increases, will this be taken into consideration when "they" determine how much water we should be using?

We hope to hear from those who have been through a drought here or who know what is being planned.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 484926 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:10 PM

Why would you ever be penalized for using less water...?


 COMMENT 484928 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:14 PM

I think what they mean is if they have already reduced to the minimum amount of water they need, and can't reduce another 25%, will they be penalized for not going lower than they have.

In other words is there one standard for everyone or do the wasters get a buffer for having wasted so much in the past.


 COMMENT 484929 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:20 PM

What was the big flood on Ortega Ridge Road this am? Anyone know?


 COMMENT 484933 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:32 PM

I've mentioned before that we've increased our water use so that we'd have a buffer. Fortunately we started last year.

Do I feel bad? Not when they continue building affordable housing and converting grazing land to vineyards.


 COMMENT 484936 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:36 PM

Misery loves company.


 COMMENT 484937 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:39 PM

I have no idea. Seeing that I live in the SB Highlands and our townhouse shares water with the 13 others in the building, we don't have to worry at all about any water restrictions. Have fun in the drought.


 COMMENT 484938 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:41 PM

Don't start wasting water to get a buffer. They usually go back a few years to determine your allotment. Case in point, in Solvang they went back to 1986 to get their number. So unless you have a time machine...
My question is, how do they tell how much apartment and condo dwellers are using? They have one meter for everyone.


 COMMENT 484939 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:43 PM

People grow grapes in the desert.


 COMMENT 484941P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:45 PM

I'll declare a drought right now. Drought. Done


 COMMENT 484942 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:49 PM

If it comes to it I plan to drink more beer (contains plenty of water) and then "water" my outdoor plants.

Kills two birds with one stone. Win-win!


 COMMENT 484943 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 01:57 PM

Why anyone in Santa Barbara would try to "save" water is beyond me. I've lived here for 40 years and have seen the laws of unintended consequences work this issue. People try to use less water because it is the environmentally responsible thing to do and then the powers that be use the water saved as justification for more development, thus making the problem worse. So if you would like to curtail the urban sprawl (UCSB we're looking at you), use as much water as you can afford.


 COMMENT 484948 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 02:07 PM

UCSB uses reclaimed water in their plantings. Using as much water as you can afford does nothing to help anyone but yourself.


 COMMENT 484951 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 02:14 PM

I've heard of people increasing their water use to make their allotment larger in a drought. Or you can be like the Montecito millionaire that drilled his own water well so he could water his plants as much as he liked. Amazing as it sounds, there are no restrictions on GW use in our area.

When the drought restrictions are applied, I will start using my washing machine rinse water to replace the lawn irrigation. Will have to switch soaps. Does anyone know what the City graywater regulations are?


 COMMENT 484953 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 02:19 PM

To the poster -- basic government principle is that no good deed goes unpunished. You will have to save another 25%.


 COMMENT 484954 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 02:21 PM

There are certain areas you can drill a well and others where you can't. Might want to check with the County on that restriction.


 COMMENT 484955 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 02:32 PM

948 - Which would tend to encourage more development, existing residents using less water or existing residents using more water? And hopefully we can agree that additional development uses more water.


 COMMENT 484956 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 02:34 PM

It would be foolish to assume you can change your average water use substantially in a month or two. I think they would look back several years.


 COMMENT 484959 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 02:46 PM

943: Why would anyone in Santa Barbara save water? Because they're not a selfish, greedy idiot who doesn't understand the concept of "limited natural resources" or care about the future.

Same reason everyone should save water, energy, food, etc. That is, unless you plan on being the last person on earth.


 COMMENT 484963 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 03:08 PM

959 - That raison d'être sounds good, until you realize that any attempt at doing so will violate the first law of thermodynamics.


 COMMENT 484975 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 03:30 PM

First, standard complaint about Edhat posters posting when they have no clue about the facts. Each water utility has their own rules. Figure out your provider and they all have written published rules on their websites. The "old" approach of individual allocations and cutbacks does not apply anywhere today. 1st Stage is voluntary and will happen this year if it doesn't rain. Standard approach, currently published is Solvang, on the City website for this week's meeting. Their approach is fairly standard in SB Co. today. The idea of using extra water to increase allocation is stupid and unnecessary today. Pray for rain, but not looking good.


 COMMENT 484979 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 03:40 PM

Save water and shower together!! :)


 COMMENT 484984 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 03:57 PM

Just use as much as you can. The planet has an infinite water supply. When SB goes dry, move to Seattle.


 COMMENT 484985P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 03:59 PM

We always have droughts in our water cycle. Yet, with smart growth, planners have forgotten that droughts exist here on a regular basis and allow rampant growth. Thank you planners for creating an unsustainable city.


 COMMENT 484986 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 04:05 PM

How about reactivating the City's desal plant sooner rather than later?


 COMMENT 484988P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 04:13 PM

The law requires an EIR for every large new housing development. Those EIRs supposedly address cumulative impacts on water supplies for each project. My question is, if city and county planners were aware that we would run short of water in drought years, why did they approve those projects? Everything that I've ever read says that restricting water use in times of drought will do little to alleviate the problem. So what do those planners say we should do now?


 COMMENT 484997 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 04:46 PM

I wonder if it will be made easier to use laundry and bath gray water and if it will be possible to do both instead of one or the other.


 COMMENT 484998P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 04:49 PM

I just drove up to Kings County this weekend. Kern looks like a disaster area---- miles of fallow, dried up fields (and plenty of angry signs about water cuts). The trees are crispy brown--- dead or dying. Even the tall stands of landscape trees surrounding the old farm houses look dead. I don't think Californians can afford to be cavalier about this situation.


 COMMENT 485006 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 05:27 PM

It's dead simple to use grey water: Run the drain hose from the washing machine into a large barrel, then hand water plants accordingly. Or, run a longer hose out a window and onto the plants and lawn. Voila! Why in God's name does everyone think they need a permit to do what's right? Yes, some administrator may strike you down with a fine after your neighbor calls you in to report a non-permitted use of your purchased water. Ignore those petty little persons and do what's right..


 COMMENT 485010 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 05:37 PM

The county relaxed permit requirements to use gray water years back, and even published a how to guide they gave out. It makes sense that you can do these modifications without a permit since you divert the laundry water before it enters the drain pipe and no actual sewer modifications are necessary.

And some plants, particularly grass, don't mind the extra phosphates in the soap. Some benefit from it.


 COMMENT 485014P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 05:51 PM

for those not already on bare bones consumption easy ways to save 25% water: Navy showers in the tub, use water for plants every forth watering.
Save flushes
Cut back on car-washing
Install greywater system and rain water chachement
Turn off auto landscape irrigation timer and use it to manually water once every two weeks for several hours for deep rooted trees and shrubs, more often and for less time for flowers and herbs. Mulch 3-4" deep so you see no bare soil.

Join the Santa Barbara Permaulture Network for help, info, and support. They'll be at the big seed exchange Jan 25th and 26th @ the Downtown Library with lots of handouts and expert counsel.


 COMMENT 485015P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 05:55 PM

...before anyone whines too much about inconvenience, know that many Central Valley small farmers are getting zero % of their normal water allotment this year and will cease operations permanently with no crop income. Orchards are dying. They're having to sell ranches that have been in the family for 100 years in some cases.These people are losing their way of life and livelihood, just to keep it in perspective.


 COMMENT 485040 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 07:56 PM

Construction companies use millions of gallons of water for dust control on jobs. You trying to save water at home is a joke to what is used out of the fire hydrant. That is only a feel good thing for people who think they are helping to conserve water. Stop the madness.


 COMMENT 485042 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 08:08 PM

Sometimes Edhat repiles hurt my brain.


 COMMENT 485047 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-13 08:29 PM

Does anyone know if the city/county will deliver/provide access to gray water for home owners if they have a water tank?

Thinking I have a hill and fruit trees that a water tank full of gray water could solve fresh water need to reduce that 25%


 COMMENT 485061 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 06:33 AM

Its Deja vu all over again....wake me when we get past 1985 again, please. This time, maybe we don't shut down the desal plant and sell off its parts for some short term gain; and maybe, just maybe, we ask where "state water" comes from and how much of it is there?


 COMMENT 485064 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 07:04 AM

The City and County should have started drought measures last summer. What were they waiting for? Were they afraid it might rain in the fall and then they'd be embarrassed?

Sadly, they can't just make a decision without having a Task Force study it and then have "Staff" make recommendations. Meanwhile, I watch people hose down, driveways, sidewalks and parking lots, while restaurants bring out glasses of water that no one asks for and the lake just keeps on getting lower.


 COMMENT 485065 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 07:06 AM

I suggest people read the "Tragedy of the Commons" written in the 60s by Garrett Hardin, from UCSB. About how people use resources held in common.Too many people here and in the rest of the world. Those making policy are irresponsible and afraid to make the right decisions.
We talk of the importance of freedom, but is it incompatible with an overpopulated world?
I didn't have children which is the ultimate environmental act. My carbon footprint and use of water will soon be zeroed. Do I get a break? Wouldn't that be fair?


 COMMENT 485068 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 07:11 AM

065, I suggest NOT asking Mother Nature what she thinks is "fair" You will not like her answer, I guarantee it.


 COMMENT 485070P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 07:20 AM

Gosh, I remember those on/off quick showers from the drought in the 1970s. Went on a business trip to DC with some other Californians and spent most of my spare time in the hotel shower. Have never taken a shower for granted since then.


 GBOB agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 08:40 AM

Thank you Nature Boy!

I don't really expect the inquirer will get to this posting, since confused boredom will probably have set in by this point.

A suggestion: Contact city, county, Goleta Water District, etc. (depending on your provider) and ASK THEM!


 COMMENT 485097 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 08:45 AM

Back in the mid 90s when we were low on water, they had yard watering restrictions imposed. My water usage is minimal since the yard was xeriscaped back in the mid 80s, thus, the amount of water used before drought and during drought restrictions did not change. The city water folks did NOT hassle me. Folks, no need to be like the government and waste water to up your allotment. They will be looking for people who use an excessive amount of water, just like they did in the mid 90s drought.

Gray water for the yard is a Bozo no-no in SB city limits. A neighbor was cited for gray water use. They found out because he was the only one in our neighborhood with a really nice green lawn.


 COMMENT 485099 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 08:46 AM

for years I have been riding my bike up State Street past a pipe that always has flowing water coming out of it into the street drain. On lower State Street anyone else noticed this?


 COMMENT 485120P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 09:16 AM

485064 - no, that is not why there are no restrictions. It was because one of the water districts out of the many did not want to implement restrictions. It was not about a task force. And this has been in the news - it was reported on edhat.


 RHS agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 09:18 AM

Most of CA water project water is for the benefit of agribusiness and a few large industries. In particular the huge expansion of orchards and vineyards along I5 and 101 was made possible by these projects. Almonds are a big export crop and very profitable for the growers but hardly necessary to the California lifestyle. And rice, why in the heck is CA a large producer of rice? These farm efforts employ huge amounts of low cost labor and pay relatively little taxes as ag land. But instead of telling them to cut back to the pre project levels we are once again guilting the individual for taking showers or washing her own car (instead of taking it to a for profit car wash center (again employing really cheap labor)). I have always been responsible about use of any resource but I am not going to live a dry, smelly and ugly life for the profits of some almond growers or car wash owners.


 COMMENT 485171 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 10:47 AM

Thanks to the intrigues of Land Trust for Santa Barbara County….74,000 gallons a day of water is being deprived for the steelhead in Montecito Creek…so spoiled Montecito Fat Cats can water their lawns while thumbing their nose to the common man.

Who gave money to this water swindle?


 COMMENT 485184 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 11:16 AM

@171, I did. I also gave money to the Douglas preserve, thinking it was going to be a nice place to have a picnic. I didn't know it was going to become a dog park. "Won't be fooled again."


 COMMENT 485187 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 11:25 AM

The average water use per person in the US is up to 78 gallons per day. If you are using more than that, maybe you can figure out a way to cut back. Seems like any rationing by the City should be based on that number.

For those of you that think you live in a condo and won't have to reduce your water use, think again. You will have to pay a penalty when you and your neighbors go over your allotment, and you will have no control over how your neighbors use water.


 COMMENT 485270 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 02:17 PM

In the 1985 drought, we let our 18 avocado trees die in trying to be good citizens and cutting back our Goleta Water District water usage. Guess what? Our new water rate (or allowance, or whatever it was) was set using our new (less) usage. No good deed goes unpunished.


 COMMENT 485282 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 02:29 PM

1985 was a very long time ago. You could have planted all new avocados and been harvesting them decades ago. Sounds like didn't care that much about them then, didn't care enough about them for the 30 years to replant and pay to water them, but you'll use them as an excuse to complain about water restrictions now.

Congrats! You have won the "bad reasons to shirk responsibility" award for the day, and believe me there is some stiff competition for that title on edhat.


 COMMENT 485323 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 04:23 PM

They raise water rates when people use too much, saying they have to discourage use. Then in dry years they raise rates saying that people are cutting back on water so bills are too low to cover expenses.

You can't win.


 COMMENT 485334 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 04:47 PM

Yes, you can win: Don't waste water EVER! No matter what the rate is, you pay less when you use less.

We live in a very well watered desert. It shouldn't take higher rates to motivate people to save our precious resources.


 COMMENT 485349 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-14 05:12 PM

Nature Boy, you crack me up. Can't wait to meet you at the next shindig. :)


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