SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert title=
Santa Barbara's Desalination Plant
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Source: City of Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara City Council declared a Stage Two Water Shortage Alert. This is in response to Governor Newsom’s recently issued executive orders declaring a statewide drought emergency and request for California residents to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent. Over 95 percent of California is currently experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions.

With the conservation practices already adopted by residents and businesses, and the City’s investment in a diversified water supply, including the activation of City’s desalination plant, Santa Barbara’s water supply outlook is good, even if extremely dry conditions persist. While Santa Barbara has experienced below-average rainfall, the City’s water demands can be met for at least the next two years, even if there is no rainfall during that time. However, in recognition of the severity of drought conditions statewide and in response to Governor Newsom’s executive orders calling on all urban water providers to enact a level two water shortage response, Santa Barbara is taking the next step to encourage conservation.

“I’m proud of the investment our community has made in diversifying our water supply for long-term reliability, and in our community members who have made real lifestyle changes to conserve and use water wisely,” said Joshua Haggmark, Water Resources Manager. “I’m confident we’ll continue to band together to use only what we need, making sure we extend our water resources for whatever lies ahead in the future.”

Santa Barbara residents are currently using the same amount of water used in the 1950s, but with nearly double the population, highlighting the impact of water efficiency and increasingly more efficient building codes. The community’s water use currently averages 25 percent less than pre-drought water use in 2013. “Our residents and businesses have truly invested in a ‘conservation as a way of life’ approach to water use,” Haggmark said. “But now is the time for all of us to do a little more and be part of the water-saving solution for California.”

Under the Stage Two measures, community members will be asked to prevent wasteful water use by:

  • Using a shut-off nozzle when using a hose or outdoor water faucet, including for vehicle or boat washing,
  • Refraining from hosing down hard surfaces such as sidewalks and patios with potable water, unless for preventative maintenance or health and safety,
  • Irrigating with an automatic or manually-controlled, in-ground irrigation system only between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., and
  • Following the statewide ban on using potable water to irrigate non-functional turf grass (that is solely ornamental and not regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events) at commercial, industrial, and institutional sites.

Even with local rainfall totaling at 67 percent of normal this winter, Santa Barbara’s diverse water supply can meet demands using a combination of supplies including Lake Cachuma, Gibraltar Reservoir, ocean desalination, groundwater, imported water through the State Water Project, and recycled water. For more information on water supplies, drought, and conservation, visit

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a-1656390658 Jun 27, 2022 09:30 PM
SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

I agree, Bumblebee; the city says that housing is the number one problem, not water availability. Hard to see late most nights water running down Mason Street from Franklin School; it's another example of do as I say not as I do.

Luvaduck Jun 24, 2022 07:55 AM
SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

Santa Barbara's Independent, June 16, 2022: "Country Must Plan for 24K More Housing Units" to comply with a CA Housing and Community Development edict. The article doesn't say how the state plans to supply the water to support those units, nor is it a 'once and done'. Would you move to TX, North Dakota, Ohio, Mississippi or here? "If you build it, they will come."

chico berkeley Jun 24, 2022 09:28 AM
SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

Concerning De-Sal, seems I just read something about a new way to split the salt out of it.
In the meantime there should be a moratorium in the entire county.
The problem is not just SB south coast.

a-1656112812 Jun 24, 2022 04:20 PM
SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

City needs to extend purple recycled water line NOW to downtown so Courthouse, Vera Cruz and De La Guerra Plazas, library, Alameda Parks and Alice Keck Memorial Garden can use it. Now potable water is used. 400 acre feet of recycled water is available per year. Purple line should go to Mission Historical Park too. Private folks can tap in along the way just as they are allowed now with the recycled line that exists to SB JR and High Schools and Ortega and Oak Parks etc. Lawns, trees, shrubs sequester carbon, cool the city and benefit all people mentally and physically. CA native plants are not a luxury. They are a need.

a-1656302843 Jun 26, 2022 09:07 PM
SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

Search "california water usage agriculture versus urban"
The results are stunning. Even if off by huge factors, the stats are amazing. Ag should pay millions and be forced to alter their watering methods! Citizens should also do so!

a-1656303120 Jun 26, 2022 09:12 PM
SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

I'm just a citizen looking for info. This was an early hit when I searched, a reportedly non-partisan think tank:

I urge you to look at this page:

a-1656383001 Jun 27, 2022 07:23 PM
SB City Council Declares Stage Two Water Shortage Alert

Like climate change, or if you prefer, heat waves, it's global:

"Authorities in Milan are turning off public fountains amid warnings of daytime water rationing as Italy battles one of its worst droughts in decades.

The measure, which comes after the wider Lombardy region declared a state of emergency, targets about half of the city’s 100 decorative fountains, with the plug already pulled on several over the weekend and the rest to be switched off in the coming days.
Fountains hosting fish and plants are exempt from the rule, as are drinking fountains.
Residents in the business and fashion hub have also been urged to reduce water use at home as much as possible."

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