Recognizing recent rainfall, Montecito Water District will Switch from Stage 2 to Stage 1 Water Shortage Condition – as Soon as State Allows

Jameson Lake February 24 2023

This week Montecito Water District’s Board of Directors passed Ordinance 98, updating water use
restrictions to be consistent with current water supply conditions. However, the change won’t take effect
until existing State emergency drought regulations terminate which is currently scheduled to happen on
May 24, 2023.

In late December 2022 and continuing through February 2023, several atmospheric rivers brought record
setting rainfall and snowpack across the State, including in Santa Barbara County. These storms filled local
reservoirs, including Jameson Lake and the Cachuma Project, and significantly improved the conditions of
State Water Project supplies. As a result, the District’s 3‐year water supply outlook indicates sufficient
water supply to meet customer demand without projected water shortages. Better yet, current conditions
provide an opportunity for the District to store surplus water for future use in its established groundwater
banking program with Semitropic. On a daily basis, the water supply agreement with the City of Santa
Barbara (desalination) continues to supply approximately 30‐40% of the District’s regular use.

“The community was very responsive to our enhanced outreach this past fall when water use was
running over budget and the winter forecast was dry,” says General Manager Nick Turner.
“Communications are just as important now, and we want the public to know that conditions have
improved. Still, our message remains much the same – use water wisely and avoid water waste. It’s not
a question of if but when drought conditions will return.”

The District has had water use restrictions in place continuously for nearly a decade. Climactic conditions
have varied dramatically year to year, while the District has completed numerous projects to improve
drought resilience with an emphasis on local, reliable supplies.

“2019’s extreme rainfall was followed by the 3 driest years on record—there really is no ‘average’
anymore,” commented Director Floyd Wicks. “Conservation as a Way of Life has to be baked into our
plan. We’re still pursuing recycled water, and we’re moving towards water targets per parcel for supply
planning and to support customers in planning their water use.”

The new Ordinance doesn’t change much with regards to water use restrictions and like its predecessor,
which was adopted when the State mandated moving to Stage 2 last spring, it includes water use
efficiencies and best practices, many of which are supported by the District’s new Rebate Program
introduced in December 2022 along with a long‐term Water Use Efficiency Plan. Information on current
regulations, rebates, and more can be found online at


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.