Voluntary rationing hits Goleta

Mar 13, 2014

Reducing lawn size and switching to native landscaping is one of the best ways to reduce water use.
Credit Flickr member Public Domain Photos

Residents of Goleta are being asked to voluntarily curb water usage by 20 percent as the city is now officially in a declared drought emergency. Goleta is one of the last major cities in Santa Barbara County to declare such an emergency.

Mandatory rationing could be put into place sometime in August or September depending on whether the region gets any more significant rainfall and to what degree voluntary rationing is embraced.

"With the recent rain, we've seen a big drop in demand." said David Matson, Goleta Water District Assistant General Manager. "The time frame for mandatory rationing will depend a large part on how our customers respond to our calls for conservation."

In a typical year, Lake Cachuma is the main water source for the city, but the lake is less than 40 percent full right now, according to Matson.

Goleta is also part of the California Water Project, but the state cut off all allocations this year, leaving many cities to search for other options. Some carry-over water was banked in the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, but not nearly enough to satisfy the city's needs.  

With options drying up, the city's water district has shifted from its traditional water sources to using ground water as a way to mitigate current drought conditions.

"Right now we have four wells operating 24/7." said Matson. "We have plans to invest heavily in augmenting our groundwater production capability over the coming two years, with the goal of rehabilitating two existing wells this year and putting two new wells in production by the end of 2015."