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Gibraltar dam nearly dry, but no official drought declared so far

With one of the driest water years on record, Santa Barbara water officials remain calm as they remind customers to be lean on their use through the summer.

No official drought has been declared.

Gibraltar dam, however, is down to a very low level and is no longer flowing into the city system. The main water source remains Lake Cachuma which has a noticeable drop in capacity, but still has a four year supply according to Alison Jordon who oversees the Santa Barbara Water Conservation efforts.

She urges residents to take steps to reduce their water consumption both inside and outside of their homes.

In 1990, during a prolonged drought, residents were ordered to cut water consumption, stop watering during the day, and special “water cops” enforced tight rules throughout the city.

There were also programs to encourage residents to install low flow toilets and special shower heads that reduced the spray. It made a significant difference.

These days, the city says landscaping changes can reduce water use more than any other improvement on a property.

The city will also pay for some of the costs, if you work with an inspector and have a free check up of your home. “The city will be for 50 percent of the materials up to $1000. for improvements for waterwise landscaping for efficient landscaping, smart irrigation controllers and removing lawns and putting in waterwise plants,” said Jordon.

Santa Barbara water officials have a long list of water saving ideas on a website and information on rebates at :

Many other water agencies are also urging conservation and water saving tips can be found by contacting those departments.

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