Goleta Water District Declares Stage II Water Shortage Emergency

On September 9, 2014, the Goleta Water District Board of Directors declared a Stage II Water Shortage Emergency and established mandatory water use restrictions necessary to cut water use by 25% district-wide.  Even with customer investment in a diverse water supply portfolio and careful management, the declaration was triggered by a 16% reduction in the District’s projected 12 month supply following three years of intense drought.  The declaration is also necessary to comply with recently adopted State Emergency Regulations that place mandatory restrictions on outdoor watering.

To comply with the voter approved SAFE Water Supplies Ordinance, adopted in a 1991 ballot initiative, the Board of Directors voted to prohibit the approval of applications for new or additional potable water connections, effective October 1, 2014. SAFE requires this action when water delivery from Lake Cachuma is reduced below 100%.

As over half of all water used in the Goleta Valley is outdoors, mandatory water use restrictions primarily target outdoor use.

Watering landscaping is restricted to no more than two times per week during early morning or late evening hours.  Residential properties using fixed (i.e. installed sprinkler systems) may water Wednesdays and Saturdays, before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Businesses using fixed irrigation systems may water Tuesdays and Fridays, before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.  Manual watering is allowed between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m., but no more than twice a week.  Wasting water is against the law, including watering that results in runoff off of the property, and allowing water to escape from plumbing breaks for more than 48 hours. Water features such as fountains can only be used on residential properties, or if they are home to aquatic life, and must recirculate.

Hoses used for any purpose must be equipped with a shut-off nozzle. Direct application of water to sidewalks, pavements, open ground, or other hard surfaced area, as well as washing buildings, dwellings or other structures, is generally prohibited. Vehicles and boats may only be washed at commercial car washing facilities or with a hose equipped with a shut-off nozzle.

Restaurants are prohibited from serving water unless requested by the patron. Hotels, motels, and other lodging are encouraged to post water shortage notices and water conservation tips, and refrain from daily linen washing unless specifically requested by the patron.  Gyms, athletic clubs, public pools, and other similar establishments are encouraged to post water shortage notices at their facilities and promote shortened showers.  Residents are encouraged to use pool covers, which reduce water loss associated with evaporation.  Rebates for pool covers will be available while supplies last.

The District is working with agricultural customers using water to irrigate commercial crops, including nurseries, to encourage conservation activities that minimize crop loss such as avoiding watering during daylight hours and using efficient irrigation systems.

Repeated violations will be penalized with fines ranging from $100 up to $500.  However, the District is focusing on educating customers about the new Stage II Water Shortage Restrictions and initial infractions will receive a warning and written notice so that the customer can correct the problem.  After a warning and written notice a $100 fine will be issued, with repeat violations receiving escalating fines.  Customers seeking an exception must complete a written application, and include the specific regulation for which the exception is requested, the reason for the request, and supporting documentation that demonstrates the need for an exception. Information on how to request an exception, or appeal a fine can be found by clicking here.

The District is requesting the help of the public in reporting violations of Stage II restrictions, instances of water waste, and suspected cases of water theft.  Members of the public who witness unauthorized use of water are encouraged to contact the District immediately at (805)964-6761 with the date, time, and location (address) of the incident.  Photos are encouraged and will help the District identify the individual and impose penalties.

In the coming months the District will launch several water conservation incentive and rebate programs, including rebates for water wise landscape installation, high efficiency toilets, and other water efficient activities.  Customers are encouraged to contact the District for additional information on the Stage II Water Shortage restrictions, rebate programs, water saving tips, and any other questions either by calling (805)879-4643, or visiting the website at www.goletawater.com.