Residents of Montecito, Summerland and Toro Canyon may have to tighten their belts regarding water consumption. The Montecito Water District-declaring an impending water emergency due to what they say is increased usage combined with very limited state water sources-issued Ordinance 89, which places a one acre-foot per year water allowance for every one acre of property. The ordinance is in effect immediately.

“The basic problem is that when the District was doing its water planning, it was with the expectation that each household would use only about an acre-foot of water per year,” said Chip Wullbrandt, counsel for the District. Wullbrandt stated that increased consumption has most likely been caused by increasing landscaping needs on larger properties, putting the average consumption at approximately 1.5 acre-feet per acre. “The Board of Directors felt that if they didn’t take action now to curtail use, then they wouldn’t have water available for people who might need it later. People will have greater sensitivity to the fact that we do live in a semi-arid climate.”

Wullbrandt noted that during the past two years, District customers have been receiving information and newsletters about the limitations. According to the ordinance, the District will continue to use public outreach and rate structure changes to implement the ordinance. For more information, visit the Montecito Water District website.


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