SANTA BARBARA — If you have big plans to use water this weekend, like washing your car or making sure your plants and lawn get a good soak, you might want to hold off. The City of Santa Barbara is asking residents to conserve as the water treatment plant will be shut down for the next two weekends for a mandatory upgrade.The Cater Water Treatment Plant on San Roque Road in Santa Barbara is abuzz with upgrade work. All the construction is in response to stricter federal drinking water regulations. “It is the City of Santa Barbara’s $20 million ozonation project which is about 80 percent complete at this point,” explained Andrew Rhodes, water treatment superintendent. What that means is, ozone will replace chlorine in the pre-treatment of water at the plant. Ozone is three atoms of oxygen that destroy algae, bacteria and fungus. “In general it overall it makes your water even better than it already is,” said Cathy Taylor, water systems manager. “You may notice an improved taste,” said Rhodes. But in order to complete one part of the upgrade, the clear well underground water reservoir needs to be emptied. That is 5 million gallons of water that serve Santa Barbara, Montecito and Carpinteria. Those cities are footing the $20 million bill for all the construction at the plant. The shut down will happen during the next two weekends including Fridays. The dates are January 11-13 and January 18-20. “What we’re asking people to do is to cut back on their nonessential water use which is any irrigation, lawn watering, watering your garden, washing your car. So it could get you out of a few chores as well this weekend,” said Taylor. Santa Barbara’s 13 reservoirs are filled to the brim so there is enough water for the essentials like drinking water, water for cooking, cleaning, laundry and showers. The reason for all the work in January is because the first month of the year sees the least amount of water use.
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