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Efforts underway to ramp up Santa Barbara area water conservation

Madeline Ward

Water officials in Santa Barbara and Goleta updated the public Monday night on the drought crisis facing South Coast communities.

New statistics on water rationing for the area shows residents in Santa Barbara are falling short of the suggested 20 percent cut in usage. The latest figures show the effort at 15 percent.

Currently, Santa Barbara is under a Stage Two drought, but that could escalate according to Madeline Ward, the city's conservation coordinator.

"If our customers are able to cut back over the summer, which is really a hard time to cut back, but you know some people are just letter their lawns go, gold is the new green, then if we're able to conserve throughout the summer, we probably wouldn't need to go into Stage Three until next spring," said Ward.

The biggest unknown is the coming rainy season, which is why local leaders want residents to act as thought it's a worst case scenario.