The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury faulted the Carpinteria Water District for sticking its smaller residential water customers with the cost of importing state water, while the valley’s agricultural customers were let off relatively unscathed. Water rates for residential users have increased by 250 percent since 1990, but agricultural customers-who use 47 percent of the water-suffered only a 15 percent rise. The problem stems from the combined costs of the district’s signing up for more state water than it needed and a $9-million water treatment facility built to meet federal water standards.


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