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Drought Concerns
updated: May 17, 2014, 5:00 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I am siphoning the bathwater out into my garden to water it. After washing the dishes (with bio-degradable soap) I water plants with it. I am just wondering if other Edhatters are taking the drought seriously? I went to a city meeting last week where I learned the first month of the stage one drought alert we (all of the city) reduced our usage by 15% but the next month by only 5%. Our rates are going up next month and if we can't curb our use and have to get the de-sal up and running our rates will double!

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

 COMMENT 519800P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 05:14 PM

Don't hold your breath for the old desal plant. Too old and out-of-date. Long time to replace. Yesterday CalTrans or a contractor had sprinklers running along the Milpas overpass - at 3:30 on a hot afternoon! While walking we passed several sparkling wet, green laws - between 4 and 5. So, to answer your question, not enough people and agencies are taking it seriously. Too many entitled jerks who think it's somebody else's problem to deal with. Too many stupid folks who don't turn off sprinklers or at the least reset timers. Too little public education to get the message out. The city waited too long to declare the problems, and now they're dragging their feet enforcing cutbacks. The sky isn't quite falling, but it sure is hot and dry.


 COMMENT 519808 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 05:38 PM

You are not alone, I too use gray water for my ornamental plants, use a shower head that can easily adjusts from strong, to a trickle, or off for lathering up. Easy to use, retails at OSH for about $6 and is another great way to conserve. Several months ago, Bloomberg news interviewed an investment professional who advised there is going to be substantial growth in any sector providing equipment for the acquisition of fresh water, including filtration systems, pumping, etc.and I believe he might be onto something...Weather channel is airing a special on Tuesday about the western drought.


 COMMENT 519812 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 05:55 PM

Of course. Is there any other way? We have lived through droughts before. Here and in Australia.

They are terrible. Cruel, relentless, without mercy for humans, animals, everything growing ,living and breathing on this planet.


 COMMENT 519816 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 06:11 PM

Average homes can only reduce so much. They need to look at our high users like ag. They use 80%of the water.


 COMMENT 519819 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 06:24 PM

Kind of hard to take it seriously when the irrigation system for a new housing development near my home is using enough water to sustain a small rainforest.


 COMMENT 519821P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 06:38 PM

819, not sure where you are, but the new development on Hollister is using reclaimed water for irrigation. Those purple pipes and valves are to show that it is reclaimed water and not potable. Wish there was some way we homeowners could get reclaimed water in addition to the potable water to use for our irrigation. As for ag using 80% - probably they do, but what would you rather do without - a long shower, or food?


 COMMENT 519823P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 06:51 PM

That's what I wanted to ask: What is Big Agriculture doing to curb its use? Those pivot irrigation systems/gigantic sprinklers are often on during midday heat. What we homeowners "waste" is peanuts compared to that usage.

At our house we have a plastic tub in left side of our kitchen's double sink. Any water that is non-soapy/2nd rinse water goes into that tub and out into the garden.

We've had low-flow shower heads and low-flow toilets for decades---ever since the last big drought. We're going to install an outdoor shower, where the run-off water can go onto our fruit trees.

We turn the water off while shaving, using toothbrushes, and soaping up in the shower. With toilets, don't always flush if it's #1.

Our garden has soaker hoses, tree gators (small reservoirs that drip water) and mulch. Even so, we feel GUILTY every time we break out the hose to water by hand or hook up the soaker hoses or fill the gators. We didn't even plant our usual small veggie garden this year; not if our water bill is going up the estimated 18% and we're looking at more drought to come.

We have two 75-gal. rain barrels, we have rain buckets. Nearly all that water is long gone, now. We do fill birdbaths, we have a small pond. No big fountain where water can evaporate.

We wash our cars rarely, and then we use the do-it-yourself or one of the cheaper carwash places. No soapy water out in our street, thank you.

We are so water conserving, it is borderline anal. And yet our bill is going up, up, up again. As one Edhat commenter opined: More people using less water means less revenue. Then the water cost goes up to cover that loss.

What worries the heck out of me is where all the water is going to come from for these new developments. Like Scarlett O'Hara, I will think about that tomorrow. It's just too distressing.


 COMMENT 519824 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 07:10 PM

Que sera sera - whatever will be will be.

Don't worry, be happy!


 COMMENT 519825 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 07:14 PM

What is astonishing to me is the reclaimed water our City sells is 90% fresh because they neglected the maintenance on the filtration system for years. Now we have to shut the system down completely for two years to fix it. Why do we wait for a drought to address this??

Don't blame homeowners, blame irresponsible government and property investors.


 COMMENT 519827 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 07:20 PM

Raising the rates is supposed to make you use less. Just like gas prices. Guess what happens when you use less? Less taxes go into rebuilding infrastructure. The higher the price the more middle class gets taken down to poverty. The rich will still use what they will because they can afford it. They should only increase the rates if you go over a large amount. So what if they double the rates? If people can afford it they will use whatever they want. Then use that money to build the desal plant.


 COMMENT 519829 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 07:37 PM

Is fire hydrant water potable? Because the Hollister development "The Hideaway" is simply hooking those purple reclaim water lines and sprinklers up to the nearby fire hydrant.


 COMMENT 519834 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 08:10 PM

9825... why blame at all? WE are all running out of water FAST. Public facilities and private homes aren't running out at different rates so we all need to conserve as much as we ALL can to make reserves last long enough 'til the rains come. That's it! No one from Sacramento is going to our rescue.

As far a blaming Ag goes... a lot of them have already lost their water allocations. Some more than others. As a result expect higher food prices... California is our major produce producer.


 COMMENT 519835 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 08:18 PM

In our house we are using pre shower water to water our garden. Only using a bowl full of soapy water to wash dishes, washing our cars with two cups of water(it works!) trying to cook meals that don't require water, using the same cup for drinking, paper plates, and at our restaurant we are using all the undranken waters to water all the surrounding plants in the neighborhood. Yes we are taking water reduction to the next level And couldn't be happier to do it for our mother until she replenishes us with fresh clean water!!!!


 COMMENT 519843P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-17 09:45 PM

I'm with 816 & 823.

825's point about our reclamation filtration is important. Terrible (non) planning, terrible infrastructure upkeep.

Been here all my life, have no garden and no kids. Of course I have low flow everything and follow the home H2O saving tips. There are rocks, succulents and lantana in the front "yard". What is ag doing? Putting in drip systems?


 COMMENT 519851 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 06:17 AM

We've gone all in for conservation over at our little 2/1 house. Turned off outdoor irrigation, watering by hand instead. Using bathtub water to flush toilets exclusively and for clothes washing. Trapping food rinsing water (and water for sushi rice; man, didn't know how much water all that rinsing took) and dish rinsing water for watering plants. short showers. And has it paid off! Here's our daily gallon usage.
04/13 219/day
01/14 158/day
02/14 115/day
03/14 80/day
04/14 77/day.
Yeah baby!


 COMMENT 519852 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 06:27 AM

I'm willing to have my water bill triple if it means other people are willing to leave because they can't afford it. I know that seems mean, but there doesn't seem to be any other way to slow growth, which is destroying everything we love about living here.


 COMMENT 519857 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 06:45 AM

852 Slowing growth requires a population that requires less. Less stuff, less food, less American excess and yes, less useless landscapes that do not provide food! Are you in? If people who can't afford living here leave, who will be your service providers?


 COMMENT 519868 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 07:21 AM

If the epic drought slows growth and decreases the population
that's not necessarily a bad thing.


 COMMENT 519870P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 07:27 AM

One minute showers, and not every day: sponge baths every other day. Water that comes out of the faucet before it gets hot as needed, goes into a container and goes into the garden. Letting some plants and parts of the garden die out. Washing clothes and dishes once a week, very full loads. But we have a fish pond and that is a huge deal for evaporation and re-filling, may have to adopt our fish out and close it down depending upon how heavily our region is affected.


 COMMENT 519871P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 07:28 AM

Gray-watering the clothes-washer water out to the fruit trees.


 COMMENT 519873P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 07:30 AM

Wash the car with a washcloth and half a bucket of water for the wash; another washcloth and half a bucket of water for the rinse. And very infrequently. Doing the "if it's yellow, let it mellow; it it's brown, flush it down" toilet thing.


 COMMENT 519879 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 07:51 AM

Goleta water district says it has ample water - and they have not mandated conservation; Carpinteria also has ample water; Santa Maria has ample water; Santa Barbara has an approximately two-year supply. Why this hysteria, except in Montecito which has been profligate and is close to being out of water?

The less water used, the more they will have to raise the rates so as to pay the fixed costs. Yes, we,re being careful and we got rid of the lawn years ago, but we are extremely resentful at seeing parkway grass being watered, etc.

And there is an 80 % and increasing chance that there will be a major El NiƱo event this year. The time to worry will be if there is no rainfall next winter. For now, be conscious and reasonably conserving - and use laundromats, with high intensity machines, and car washes (if at all).


 COMMENT 519884P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 08:13 AM

I think there is a misunderstanding of the word ample.

Take a look at the front page of the GWD and see if it gives the impression of ample. It is all about conservation. http://www.goletawater.com/

Carpinteria - conserve water

Santa Maria - water conservation ideas

Oh, and btw, they are raising rates - so that those who use too much water have to pay more. So please avoid the evidence-free and stick to facts.

It is not hysteria, it is smart use. The page with the most warnings is that from GWD, where the words critical, prudent, water emergency, etc are used.

I think most everyone gets it.


 COMMENT 519888 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 08:18 AM

BRB, have to fill the swimming pool.


 COMMENT 519889 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 08:32 AM

519852: We are willing to leave (should be out sometime in the next 60 days) and are making our property more drought tolerant as a rental. We removed the grass between the street and sidewalk and are hardscaping the area. We are also hardscaping half of the front yard with the other half left for a small garden watered by tub water. The backyard will not be planted with grass but left for a play area for children or dogs. Low flow everything else...the rest will be up to the new tenants.


 COMMENT 519890 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 08:40 AM

Let the exodus begin to greener pastures.


 COMMENT 519896 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 08:57 AM

As soon as our politicians stop approving new growth, I will start to conserve water. SB should be not be growing!


 COMMENT 519912P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 09:49 AM

I love a clean, shiny car. There's spray-on waterless car wash liquid that, using microfiber towels as directed, works really well and doesn't scratch the paint. Try Griot's Garage on line, or auto supply store. I bought a large amount of towels at that big box warehouse store and will wash them only when I have a very full load. Meanwhile, just turning off the faucet when lathering hands and brushing teeth has cut our water use. And no one has to flush every time.


 COMMENT 519922 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 10:24 AM

I wonder what ever came of the long known realization that there isn't enough water to support the population in the SB County area.

My brother-in-law then an appraiser in Chicago was hired by a large company in 1968 and he went to SB to evaluate whether the northerly area could support development. I think it was also involving the Hollister Ranch area.

His report was that it was water limited and the Chicago company decided on the basis of his evaluation and report that they wouldn't get involved in development in that coastal area because there was obviously not enough water to support the type of development they would do.

And wasn't there at one time a moratorium on any new water meters in the Goleta Valley?

I remember drinking hot sulfurous water from the water company from the tunnel being bored to Cachuma when it was that or nothing.



 RAINE5360 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 11:03 AM

Washing hair & showering less w trickling flow. Less flushing. Pre shower water goes into buckets/barrels for plants and washing car (which is now filthy). Watering lawn/plants much less (they look like cr-p). Water turned off while brushing teeth, etc. Any leftover drinking water goes into the barrels that caught the last few rains. My washing machine is HE; dishwasher runs less often, more use of paper plates (not sure that is good). Bring my own bottled water to restaurants so no waste there. I'm running out of ideas.


 COMMENT 519940 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 11:14 AM

We have a bucket in the tub to catch any wash water and use it to flush toilet, which actually works better than using the low flow flusher which doesn't make everything go down. Any leftover water goes to the outdoor potted plants and all our other plants are D. Tolerant and doing well without water. We're on an average of 80 gal per day but you wouldn't think it. Gray water is so conveniently located from the home for home use, more self sustaining. More people should try a graywater system of some kind. Save rainwater when it comes & just love mother earth better.


 COMMENT 519959 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 11:48 AM

84P - yes, it is wise (or "smart") to be careful. But "mandate" means "require" - and only the MWD is requiring, although SB probably will be likely to do so as well as with higher fees. If there's a serious shortage, there WILL be a reduction mandated, that is, required. The rest, including all the stuff on websites, is blah, blah, blah and only those already cutting back will read it.

It was the hysteria back in the 90's that brought Santa Barbara (except wise Lompoc) State Water, hysteria that meant people paid no attention to those who said, "But when there is a drought, will we still get the water?" ..."Oh, yes, almost certainly," said those who wanted more development for which more water was needed.

How people are reacting now reminds of then. If all the money paid for State Water (ie. the pipes) had gone into desal by the various water districts how much better off we would have been.


 COMMENT 519972 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 12:40 PM

There is no water shortage! Just like there is no shortage of greedy self centered people. Of course water in S.B. has always been in demand! Ask the Indians who adapted to their surroundings. Oh that's right no profit in adapting just in pillaging and misuse of our resources.


 COMMENT 519975 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 12:47 PM

To answer the OP's question, yes I am taking it seriously. We should be dismantling 20-30% of the existing housing, reducing the student body at the U, building a proper, solar and wind powered desal plant, increasing storage capacity by building tanks, and installing allotment meters on every property that changes hands. The realtors and developers will have a fit as will those counting on property value appreciation, but then you know who really calls the $hot$ around here.


 COMMENT 519990 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 01:43 PM

The solution is simple fill massive oil tankers with fresh water from the northern hemisphere and dock off the SB coast. Just need a big pipe to bring the fresh water onshore.


 COMMENT 519997P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 02:15 PM

As has repeatedly been said in these conversations, there should be a moratorium on new construction and a stop to new water meter installations. What we have is what we get. Maybe reconsider when a more sustainable/reliable water supply is in place, but until then the region needs to stop being stupid with water-guzzling over-development, and that includes packing I.V. with thousands more students.


 COMMENT 520044 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 04:59 PM

Perhaps instead of the Keystone pipeline project, they could build a waterline from flooded states like Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina etc and pipe water to Texas, California...Now that would be the ultimate infrastructure upgrade the U.S. has ever experienced!!


 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 10:46 PM

I'd like to see local government conduct an anti-lawn campaign.


 COMMENT 520185 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 11:02 AM

The rate increases are not enough to make people save water. My bill is set to up 10% or so, which is about $4 per month. So remember this, and get ready for some serious rate increases if we don't start saving enough water and it continues to stay dry through the next winter.


 CORKY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:42 PM

I sure am. I have cut way down on the dry lawns, and am using recycled and all of the gallon bottles I collectedf from barrels when it rained.


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