Montecito Water District Poised to be Drought-Proof by Summer with Desalination and New Rates


(Santa Barbara, California. April 27, 2020)

Montecito Water District’s Board of Directors will hold its regular monthly meeting tomorrow as scheduled. The agenda includes updates on the status of a Water Supply Agreement with the City of Santa Barbara and the Rate Study. These projects remain on schedule to be completed and ready for Board consideration in June,” said General Manager Nick Turner. Proposed rates will be mailed to customers for review in mid-May, and include “desalination”, which refers to the cost of the pending 50-year Water Supply Agreement with the City of Santa Barbara.

The Board will also review a preliminary presentation on Future Demand and Water Supply Options prepared by Steve Bachman. Dr. Bachman is on contract with the District to prepare an update to the water supply report he completed in 2007. While many of the recommendations from the past plan have been implemented, the District’s current water supplies remain unreliable. This became evident during the recent historic drought that spanned from 2012 to 2018 and left the District nearly solely dependent upon the availability of supplemental water and the operation of the State Water Project facilities.

Our constituents fully expect us to continue working on these critical initiatives. We were elected to do a job, and we must fulfill our obligations,” stated Director Cori Hayman at a meeting earlier this month. “If anything, current conditions show us that we must continue to move swiftly and put resilient plans in place for the District’s future water needs. This community knows that things can change overnight, and we must be prepared.

MWD is conducting business as usual to the extent possible during the COVID-19 pandemic response. Customer service staff is available by phone and email during business hours (8 am - 5 pm, Monday – Friday), operations are regular, and repairs are being made as needed. However, all major capital improvements are temporarily on hold. For example, “Smart Meter” installation began in January, 2020 and approximately half of the meters in the District were upgraded before the project was halted in mid-March due to the coronavirus. Customers will be notified as soon as these projects resume.

All Board Meetings are open to the public and accessible by teleconference. More information can be found in the Agendas and Packets available on the District’s web site: Meeting times are posted to the online District Calendar and participation is encouraged. For assistance please contact call 805.969.2271 or email

Jameson Lake, April 6, 2020

Caption: Juncal Dam spilling, April 6, 2020. Jameson Lake reached 100% capacity with the rainfall received in early April. A bathymetric study completed last year revealed that the lake holds about 30% less than it did when first built. While Jameson Lake is full, Montecito Water District is resting its wells to support groundwater recharge, and moving forward with plans to diversify its water portfolio and ensure the community's future water needs will be met. (Photo credit: Alan Prichard, Dam Caretaker.)

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, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.