The Nerve to Conserve

Montecito Water District (MWD) has told its customers in Montecito and Summerland that unless we reduce our consumption by 30 percent, right now, we will be out of water by July. If we do cut back, our water is expected to last all the way to October.

About three-quarters of the district’s water goes to single family residences, and we’ve each been allocated 18,700 gallons per month for essential uses, plus 6,919 per acre, per month for nonessential uses. For us that adds-up to a monthly allotment of 87,890 gallons. What we actually use for two adults, two big dogs, laundry, and minimal landscaping on 10 acres averages about 3,000 gallons per month — 100 gallons per day compared to the 2,930 gallons per day that our emergency allotment affords us — and that was before MWD’s call to conserve.

We don’t think that our allotment should be 4½ times what our neighbors with more typical Summerland parcels are allotted. This is a community in crisis, and it would be profoundly unfair for a few to waste a precious and dwindling resource, the essence of life on which is based the very habitability of our towns, to maintain splendid landscaping, yet we hear loud and public grumbling from some profligate users who feel that they deserve more.

One couple with a sense of community can live comfortably on 100 gallons per day, and we are happy to leave enough of our allotted water for 29 other households. We are certain that many of our neighbors can do much better.

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