Current Water Supply Status & Drought Planning

In response to intensifying drought and record-breaking temperatures across the Western United States, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide drought emergency proclamation on October 19, 2021. Santa Barbara County has been in a state declared drought since July 8, when Newsom proclaimed a drought emergency which included 50 of the 58 counties in California. On July 13, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution proclaiming a Local Emergency caused by Drought Conditions. The County resolution cites Newsom's drought declaration as well as below average rainfall received last winter, reduced storage in reservoirs, and reduced State Water Project supply. The US Drought Monitor has additionally characterized the drought in Santa Barbara County as Category 3: Extreme Drought. However, it is important to note that this and Newsom's declaration are focused on broad-scale climatic conditions rather than local water supplies, and that due to the variability of water supplies across the county, not all communities are experiencing water shortages as of now.

Water supply across Santa Barbara County

County residents obtain their water from several sources: groundwater withdrawal, storm runoff collected in local reservoirs, the State Water Project, desalination, and recycled water. Water supply sources vary considerably across the county, with some water providers relying more heavily on reservoirs to supply water to their customers, others more on groundwater or the State Water Project. Water sources also vary year to year, depending on rainfall levels, State Water Project supply, and conditions in each purveyor's district. Learn more about water supply in the county here, and view your community's water sources. 

Are there watering restrictions in my community? 

Although a drought emergency has been declared by the County, individual water purveyors use their own metrics to determine whether they are in a water shortage and thus whether watering restrictions are necessary. Water shortage categories are defined in each purveyor's Water Shortage Contingency Plan and are based on how well the purveyor's own water supplies are projected to meet demand, rather than on dry climatological conditions. Please see the table below for a complete list of purveyor supply statuses and watering restrictions across the county.  

Statewide, Governor Newsom has asked for a voluntary 15% reduction in water use from 2020. If accomplished, this could save 850,000 acre feet of water over the next year for future use, enough to supply 1.7 million households for a year. In addition, the State Water Resources Control Board maintains urban water use reporting requirements, and is conducting a rulemaking to prohibit wasteful water use practices as directed by Governor Edmund Brown Jr in Executive Order B-40-17. This rulemaking is part of a broader framework to make conservation a California Way of Life.

    Water Supply Status of each provider in Santa Barbara County
    Last updated: October 2021

    Water Provider
    Water Supply  Stage Water Supply Status & Water Waste Prohibitions
    Carpinteria Valley Water District Stage II
    On October 13, 2021, the Carpinteria Valley Board of Directors passed Ordinance 21-1 declaring a Stage Two Drought Condition.
    City of Buellton Stage II
    In 2014, the City of Buellton adopted Resolution 14‐19, declaring a Stage Two Water Conservation Requirement. This is pursuant to the State Water Resource Control Board's regulations declaring a State of Emergency due to severe drought conditions. Residents and businesses are required to reduce water consumption and limit outdoor irrigation in order to meet these requirements.
    City of Guadalupe Stage I Statewide rules apply.
    City of Lompoc Stage I
    The City has implemented No Water Wasting Restrictions since August 15, 2017.
    • Irrigate before 10am or after 4pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays
    • No excess runoff
    • All water leaks must be fixed within 8 hours of detection or notification
    • A shut-off nozzle is required when washing a vehicle
    • No washing of hard surfaces
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    City of Santa Barbara Stage I
    On April 9, 2019, City Council rescinded the Stage Three Drought Emergency and adopted a Stage One Water Supply Condition. With this action, prior drought water use regulations in effect under the Stage Three emergency are lifted; however, the City will continue to enforce its longstanding regulation prohibiting irrigation runoff and failure to repair leaks. Continuing conservation by the community to reduce water use is encouraged. 

    City of Santa Maria Stage I These specific water restrictions have been in place since late 2014:
    • No outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water from 12pm to 4pm
    • No runoff when irrigating with potable water
    • No use of hoses without a shut-off nozzle to wash motor vehicles
    • No use of potable water on driveways or sidewalks
    • No use of potable water in a non-recirculating, decorative water feature
    City of Solvang Stage II
    On August 23, 2021 the Solvang City Council passed a resolution declaring Stage Two Drought Regulations and requiring a 20% reduction in water use by all city customers from the benchmark fiscal year 2019-20's average monthly water usage. The following water regulations apply:

    • Outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf shall be limited to no more than two days per week. Watering shall be restricted to Mondays and Thursdays for addresses ending in even numbers, and to Tuesday and Fridays for addresses ending in odd numbers.
    • The use of water for flushing of water mains, and fire department training exercises shall be allowed only upon written approval of the City Manager.
    • The use of water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system, is prohibited.  
    • The penalty for a second violation of any Stage One or Stage Two Drought Regulation shall be set by City Council resolution (currently $100 per occurrence), after a written warning upon the first violation

    Additionally, each of the Stage One Regulations set forth below shall remain in force where not in conflict with the provisions of Stage Two Drought Regulations: 

    • Irrigation of turf, such as school yards, parks, ball fields, golf courses, etc., shall only be allowed before 6am or after 10pm
    • Exterior sprinkler watering of plants, lawns, shrubbery, ground cover, etc., shall be permitted only between the hours of 8pm to 8am during the months of March through October, and only between the hours of 4pm to 10am during the months of November through February
    • The washing of hard surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks shall be prohibited except where necessary to protect the public health and safety
    • Vehicles shall be washed only at commercial car washing facilities
    • Operators of hotels, motels and other commercial establishments offering lodging shall post in each room a notice of drought condition containing water conservation information. Linens and towels shall be washed no more than every second day for guests staying more than one night
    • Immediate fixing of known leaks, etc. 
    • All restaurants that provide table service shall post a notice of drought condition and may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    • The loss of water through breaks or leaks in any water user's plumbing must be corrected within 24 hours of the user's knowledge of that condition
    Cuyama CSD Stage I Statewide rules apply.
    Stage II Statewide rules apply.
    Goleta Water District No Shortage
    On August 13, 2019, in response to receiving a full allocation of annual surface water supplies from Lake Cachuma, the Goleta Water District Board of Directors terminated its Stage I Water Shortage Emergency, effective immediately. While conservation is now voluntary, prohibitions against wasting water remain in effect and leaks must still be fixed within 24 hours, and water waste prohibitions adopted by the State of California remain in effect:
    • Potable water may not be used to wash down sidewalks and driveways
    • Runoff caused by irrigation is prohibited
    • Vehicles must be washed using a hose with a shutoff nozzle
    • Decorative water features must use recirculated water
    • Outdoor irrigation is prohibited during and within 48 hours following measurable rainfall
    Stage II Stage Two was declared on July 30, 2014 with a 30% conservation. 
    Los Alamos CSD Stage I
    Board passed ordinance on August 27, 2014 adopting State regulations.
    Mission Hills CSD Stage I   Statewide rules apply.
    Montecito Water District Stage I
    On July 27, 2021 the Montecito Water District's Board of Directors adopted a voluntary 20% water use reduction target. Ordinance 96 declaring a Stage One water supply shortage is still in effect, which includes the following water use restrictions:
    • No washing of hard surfaces  such as driveways, sidewalks, patios and parking lots, except where necessary to protect health and safety
    • No watering of lawns/landscapes in a manner that causes runoff and / or within 48 hours after measurable precipitation
    • Exterior irrigation is allowed only between 6pm and 10am for all customer classifications excluding agriculture
    • Vehicles may be washed only at commercial car washes or by bucket or hose equipped with a hand-operated shut off valve
    • Water must be recirculating if used in a fountain or other decorative water feature
    • Existing water levels may be maintained; pools may be drained and/or filled once every five (5) years upon application and written authorization from the District
    • Existing water levels may be maintained; ponds may be drained and/or filled only with District approval of written application; New ponds must be supplied by an alternate water source
    • Hotels, Motels, etc. shall offer an option of not laundering towels and linens daily and shall display notice of this option
    • Restaurants and other eating establishments that provide table service shall refrain from serving water except upon specific request by a customer
    • If repairs are delayed, water service to the property must be turned off to prevent water loss until the repair has been completed
    Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District ID#1 Alert - Below Normal Water Supply

    On March 21, 2017, the Board of Trustees rescinded the "Stage One – Water Supply Shortage Emergency" and authorized and implemented a non-emergency "Alert – Below Normal Water Supply" status.

    Vandenberg Village CSD Stage I The District has implemented No Water Wasting Restrictions. 
    • Irrigate before 10am or after 4pm
    • No excess runoff
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours following measurable rainfall is prohibited
    • Potable water is not to be used to clean outdoor hard surfaces, with exemptions for dangerous substances and commercial steam cleaning
    • A shut-off nozzle is required when washing a vehicle
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request 
    • Using non-recirculated water in a fountain or other decorative water feature 
    • All water leaks must be fixed as soon as possible after notification by VVCSD

    How Much Water Do We Have and Where Do We Get It From?