Commercial Customer Drought Portal

Commercial Protal Photo Masthead

Drought Information for Commercial Customers

This webpage provides commercial customers within the Goleta Water District’s service area with the most up-to-date, accurate, and relevant information regarding water supplies during this historic period of drought.  The various industries represented in this customer class and the ways in which they use water vary greatly.  Learn more about how the drought may impact your business.

Conservation to Date

Commercial customers reduced their water use almost 10% in 2015 over 2013.  Conserving water can save money and help maintain adequate water supplies essential to public health and safety.

Change In Commercial Use Baseline Chart 180309

Click here for the % Change in Use from Baseline PDF.

Conservation Programs, Resources, and Tips

To assist customers in conserving water, the District offers a number of rebate programs.

Smart Landscape Rebate Program (SLRP): You may qualify for up to $4,000 ($2,000 per water meter; maximum 2 meters) for water efficiency improvement projects in your outdoor landscape areas, including turf reduction projects and laundry-to-landscape systems.  Replacing turf areas with California-native and drought-tolerant plants, or reusing graywater for outdoor irrigation are great ways to ensure your landscapes stay naturally beautiful year-round while conserving water for drinking, and for public health and safety. Your lawn and ornamental landscaping may be costing you up to $1,000 a month. 

Water Saving Incentive Program for Large Customers (WSIP):  Qualified customers can receive incentives of 50% of a project’s total cost, up to a maximum of $5,000 per water meter. Half of this amount is awarded to the customer immediately upon the project’s completion, with the second half being awarded after a one-year testing and verification period.

Mulch Over Your Lawn Program:  Removing turf is one of the easiest ways to significantly reduce your water consumption. Consider eliminating or sharply reducing your outdoor irrigation by reducing the size of your lawn or mulching over it.  The easiest solution is to do nothing.  Leave your lawn alone, and let it turn gold.  Show Goleta that OK to let your lawn go thirsty during a drought.

While the District does not currently prohibit lawns, more severe restrictions banning the use of outdoor sprinklers and the watering of lawns may become necessary as early as fall.  The District recommends delaying planting even waterwise plants until the fall.

For more information about rebate and incentive programs call (805) 962-6761 ext. 642.

Free, On-site water inspections and consultations are also available.

Stage III Water Shortage Emergency

The District is currently in a Stage III Water Shortage Emergency and is targeting a 30% reduction in demand from its commercial customers to help ensure adequate water supplies remain available. The Stage III water use restrictions directly impacting commercial customers include:

Outdoor landscape irrigation

Outdoor landscape irrigation remains limited to no more than two times per week during early or late evening hours, and is prohibited within 48 hours of measurable rainfall:

  • Manual watering (including with a sprinkler attached to a hose) is now only allowed before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m., any two days per week.
  • Use of fixed (i.e., installed) sprinkler systems for Commercial and institutional properties is limited to Tuesdays and Fridays, before 6 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

No Excessive Irrigation.  Irrigating in a manner that results in runoff to adjacent property or non-irrigated areas, such as sidewalks, gutters, storm drains, and driveways, is prohibited.

Uncorrected Plumbing Leaks.  Plumbing system leaks, breaks, or other system failures must be corrected within 48 hours of discovery.

Hose Nozzles Required.  All hoses must be equipped with a shut-off nozzle.

No Washing Down Sidewalks or Other Hard Surfaces. This includes driveways, parking lots, open ground, and other paved surfaces, with the exception of the use of a pressure washer where necessary for maintenance, limited to once every two months where necessary to address immediate health and safety hazards, and where necessary to prepare paved surfaces for sealing.


Water Served Upon Request Only.  Restaurants and other commercial food service establishments are prohibited from serving drinking water to any person unless expressly requested, and must maintain table signage indicating water is provided only upon request.  Call (805) 962-6761 ext. 642 to request free "We only serve water on request" restaurant table signs.


Hotel Guests Given Option Not to Launder Towels Daily.  Hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily, and prominently display notice of this option in guestroom. Call (805) 962-6761 ext. 642 to request free water conservation linen cards and towel doorhangers.

For a full list of Stage III restrictions click here.

Commercial Usage Trends

Commercial water use is highly influenced by weather, tourism, economy, vacancy rate, and the school-year cycle. Highest water usage typically occurs between July and September, generally the hottest and driest period of the year.

Commercial Water Use By Type Chart

Because the commercial customer class includes a range of businesses, it’s helpful to look at water use among similar businesses.  Over a one year period, public buildings increased the most, while schools, parks, and churches reduced by the greatest percentage.

Change In Use By Customer Type Chart

Click here for the Change in Usage by Commercial Customer Type PDF.

Water Supply

The District’s supply portfolio includes Lake Cachuma, the Goleta Groundwater Basin, the State Water Project, and recycled water.  The current drought has reduced the available supply from Lake Cachuma and the State Water Project.  For the first time in the Lake’s history, the District received a zero allocation starting on October 1, 2015.  Instead, the District is increasingly relying on the Goleta Groundwater Basin.


Smart Landscape Rebate Program: Please click here for program details, or call (805) 879-4643.

Water Saving Incentive Program: Please click here for program details, or call (805) 879-4643.

Santa Barbara County Rainfall and Reservoir Summary

Santa Barbara County Public Works (rainfall, reservoir, stream, and other hydrologic related information and data)

Please contact Ryan Drake, Water Supply and Conservation Manager, with any questions or for additional information.
Turn on Javascript!
(805) 879-4627