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 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.
|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:
|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:
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:
|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:
|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:
|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.
What Can We Do to Conserve Water?
- Specific Actions to Take to be Water Wise
- Specific Actions for Renters (bilingual)
- Programs From Your Water Provider
- Help Your Trees Survive the Drought
- Save Water Inside and Outside Posters
- State Water Resources Control Board Drought Website
- Save Our Water
- Home Water Use Calculator
- EPA WaterSense
Links to Water Resource Information