The Santa Barbara City Council gave the green light to engaging in talks with the Montecito Water District to operate Santa Barbara’s now-under-construction desalination plant as a regional facility. City water managers are still bristling at the millions of dollars they claim the Montecito district stiffed them for when the desalination plant was first built in the 1990s, but clearly Montecito’s millions could go a long way in softening the $55 million cost to rebuild the plant and the millions more to operate it. The Carpinteria Valley Water District has also expressed some interest in participating in such a regional endeavor. How much water Montecito wants, when, and at what price remain questions with no answers.


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