Preparing for Continued Drought Even with Predicted Rain

Photos of storm clouds, stream and a water tank.

While everyone is hopeful that El Niño will bring much needed rain, as we enter the remaining few months of the rainy season, the community remains in a severe drought.  The District continues to actively plan and manage for continued drought to ensure sufficient supplies remain available for public health and safety.  This includes extensive conservation rebate programs, active leak and water waste enforcement, and a significant capital program to maintain and enhance the District’s groundwater wells, and make critical improvements to the distribution system to minimize service interruptions.

Goleta Groundwater Basin as a Lifeline

As we enter our fifth year of severe drought, the District’s groundwater basin continues to serve as our lifeline source of supply, and provides assurance that water will continue to be available for drinking, health, and public safety needs. The majority of water being served to customers this year comes from the Goleta Groundwater Basin.As such, the District remains vigilant in protecting and caring for this vital asset and will take all necessary steps to ensure its continued health and viability.

Future Drought Planning

While the District actively manages the current drought, the District continues to explore and develop additional alternative water supply options. A Stormwater Management Plan will identify opportunities to capture rain runoff and recharge the groundwater basin. A Recycled Water Feasibility Study is looking at how new treatment technologies can expand the use of recycled water beyond the current 1,000 acre feet a year used for irrigation and restroom facilities. These plans build on previous investments the District has made in its diverse water supply portfolio, and offer additional buffers against future droughts.

Helping Customers Conserve

The District offers customers a number of conservation resources.  Free water checkups are available to check the programming on your sprinkler timer. Rebates ranging from $750 to $2,000 can fund the replacement of water thirsty plants with waterwise landscaping and efficient irrigation equipment, including greywater systems that reuse indoor water for irrigation. Customers can also learn about rainwater harvesting techniques that can capture and hold rain for use in your yard at a free workshop on March 3.

Rainwater Harvesting 101
Thursday, March 3, 7:00-8:30 PM, Goleta Valley Community Center

Rainwater harvesting is the process of capturing rain and holding it on site in soil, plants, or cisterns that can be used for irrigation. The process helps control erosion, reduces flooding, and minimizes water pollution. Learn about techniques to slow, spread, and sink rainwater through the use of downspouts, bio swales and mulch basins, as well as how letting water slowly percolate into the soil can create a biologically rich sponge to support your landscaping. Info on rebate programs will be available. The free class includes a PowerPoint presentation with time for participants to ask questions about their specific projects in order to provide real life examples of the principles and practices behind these sustainable systems.

This class is cosponsored by the Goleta Water District, the City of Goleta, and Sweetwater Collaborative.

For more information, contact the District at (805) 964-6761.

(Published February 25, 2016)