Montecito rich ignore drought, guzzle millions of gallons
A great story on the drought in Santa Barbara from the innovative Mission and State publication includes this jaw-dropper on the rich in Montecito from Alex Kacik:
Despite a combined population of about 10,400 people, Montecito and Summerland residents use much more water—particularly when it comes to maintaining their lush landscapes—than most cities in the county. According to the Santa Barbara County Water Agency, Goleta residents used an average of 66 gallons per person per day in 2012, compared to 86 gallons in Santa Barbara, 84 gallons in Carpinteria and 290 gallons in Montecito.
In fact, Montecito’s single-family residents use the most water, accounting for about 74 percent of the district’s 6,017 acre-feet of total water use last year. To put that in perspective, an acre-foot is 326,000 gallons of water, and a five-minute shower uses 10 gallons, while a typical 15-minute lawn watering uses about 700 gallons. There are three customers who used 92 acre-feet between them last year, which is nearly 30 million gallons. Combined, the 6-acre, 20-acre and 40-acre properties used more water than the 110-acre Westmont College, which used 88 acre-feet last year. It takes about 2 acre-feet to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
“It’s almost as if [those customers] are in a bubble and that they truly aren’t aware of the situation we’re in,” said [General Manager Tom] Mosby, adding that about 200 Montecito single-family residences [5 percent] use 25 percent of the district’s water. “But they have to become aware of it. These people will come down one way or the other.”
Read the whole thing, and you'll see as he indicates that the water agency does have fines in place, and even the ability to shut an egregious customer off.
Talked to Renee Roth, a G3 gardener who spoke eloquently on drought-tolerant and ocean-friendly landscapes at our drought symposium a few weeks back, and she said that she is taking a master gardening class in Santa Barbara, and heard from a couple of her classmates that they have no intention of changing, as many SoCal gardeners are trying to do, in the face of this drought.
This despite the fact that Lake Cachuma, the city's reservoir, is at just 39% of capacity.