Faced with dwindling water supplies, Santa Barbara bans lawn watering

Dec 7, 2016

Santa Barbara residents will have to make a new year's resolution soon not to water their lawns. This week the city council approved a ban on lawn watering, effective January 1, 2017.

The city's water resources manager, Joshua Haggmark, said Santa Barbara's water supply situation is getting worse, and the city can't wait any longer to take more stringent measures.

"Due to our community’s achievements in water conservation we have managed to avoid lawn watering restrictions until now, but we need to take action to stretch our remaining water supplies,” Haggmark said in an announcement about the ban.

According to Haggmark, the city gets most of its water from Cachuma Lake and the Gibraltar Reservoir. Currently the water level at Cachuma is at just eight percent of capacity, and Gibraltar is empty. The new ban is expected to save between 500 and 1200 acre-feet by summertime.

The only exceptions to the ban are for public parks, school fields and golf course putting greens. Businesses dependent on their green grassy ceremonial event spaces will need to apply for an exemption. The city says it hopes the water saved from the ban can go towards keeping the city's trees and shrubs alive next summer.