Imagine a Day Without Water
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2022 is the Eighth Annual “Imagine a Day Without Water”
Montecito Water District’s Message to Customers: “Supply is Reliable, We Need Your Help Reducing Demand.”
Montecito Water District prides itself on providing a reliable water supply, and rightly so—it’s been doing it successfully for more than 100 years. Today the challenge is demand: the District is turning up the volume on its message to customers that water use is too high, with a request to reduce irrigation now. With customer usage running approximately 20% above budget over the past year, General Manager Nick Turner is indeed imagining days without water, and the District is taking steps to get usage back on track.
“Our ask is simple,” said General Manager Nick Turner, “reduce irrigation by 20%. For example, if you currently water for 20 minutes, cut that back to 16 minutes. If everyone in the community reduced the duration and / or frequency of watering landscapes we’d be on budget. We’ve diligently planned and budgeted for water supply – we need customers to help with demand.”
In addition to traditional communications such as emails, bill inserts, and advertisements, the District has been trying new ways to get attention—such as installing banners and putting flashing message boards on prominent roadways. Staff is also reaching out to community organizations and schools, asking “the village” to spread the word.
The District’s drought resilience has greatly improved in recent years with actions such as completing a 50-year agreement with the City of Santa Barbara to share in desalination, which it celebrated on national “Imagine a Day Without Water” in October 2020. Per the agreement, the District began receiving water deliveries in January 2022. This local, drought resilient supply provides for about one-third of the District’s budgeted water needs.
“What we need people to understand is that we have sufficient supplies to provide for the community’s health and safety needs under almost any condition, which is major progress,” says Board Vice President Ken Coates. “What we can’t support is increasing exterior use through extreme drought. Irrigation needs to be scaled back.”
While about 1/3 of customers have maintained or improved conservation in recent years, the remaining 2/3 have increased usage. The District is asking for voluntary conservation to achieve the goal for 20% reduction in water use. On the web site montecitowater.com customers can find a variety of resources to help with water conservation, and the District provides free on-site visits tailored to the needs of each property. To further support customers, the District is on schedule to complete a Water Efficiency Plan by the end of the year and begin rolling out rebates and incentives for mulch delivery, landscape conversions, appliance replacements and other water saving efforts.
Montecito Water District's mission is to provide an adequate and reliable supply of high quality water to the residents of Montecito and Summerland, at the most reasonable cost. In carrying out this mission, the District places particular emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, conducting its operations in an environmentally sensitive manner, and working cooperatively with other agencies. For additional information visit montecitowater.com, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.