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City Water Use Hits 1958 Levels

Revenue Close to Falling Short of Expenses

Water release at Cachuma Lake (July 12, 2016)
Paul Wellman

For the past 12 months, water customers in the City of Santa Barbara have collectively been using the same amount of water as they did in 1958, though 60 years ago, the city’s population was less than half of what it is today. More precisely, water users are conserving about 30 percent; if they used any less, water sale revenues would not cover the cost of providing the service. Santa Barbara remains in the grips of a “severe drought.” Were it not for the 3,200-acre-feet of desalinated water produced by the $72 million desalination plant, councilmembers were told at a meeting on 5/22, the situation would be far grimmer.

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