Water Chiefs: Start Conserving

Ever since Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought this summer, area water agencies have been perusing various methods of conserving water. On October 21, the County’s Public Works Department-careful to point out that they are not purveyors of water but instead a regulatory water agency that conserves it-presented a report to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors outlining the county’s water supply and collective efforts among its special districts to store water. Concerns were raised over the availability of water from the State Water Project, which has seen drastically reduced capacity in its reservoirs due to a dry spring and unusually small Sierra snow packs. “One thing we can do is look ahead to avert a crisis,” said Rebecca Bjork, the Water Resources Manager for the City of Santa Barbara, alluding to the crisis nature of the budget cuts discussed by the board immediately prior to the water report. Bjork, who runs one of the county’s most conservation-minded water agencies, called for long-term planning and increased county-wide conservation efforts. The County’s Water Resources Director, Tom Fayram, pointed to the county’s preference of Cachuma water over State Water. “Cachuma water is by far the most cost-effective in terms of water supply,” he said.

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