Santa Barbara’s sewer system is an artifact of the Small Town, which was invented at about the time of the system referenced in the article, complete with paved streets, sewers, storm drainage, water supply, electricity, telephones, and the like. One interesting result was that kids about this time had free time and did not have to work on a farm or in factories. Hence, the image shown in the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedies.
While repair and upgrade are arguably needed, as the article points out, what is really needed is a quantum jump to housing units that are virtually self-sustaining, using such features as fire suppression, home fuel-powered generators, wind and solar power, cell phones, compost toilets, water reclamation, grey water irrigation, and the like. Each house could be considered to be a space capsule. Eventually, public utilities could disappear, except possibly water in Southern California, roads, and storm drainage. A harbinger of this is the drastic reduction in cost and rise in standard of living already shown by the “digital revolution.”
Really, pardon the cliché, but the future is already here, and the concept of the Urban General Plan, as is now under revision, is blown to smithereens.