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Santa Barbara Water Users Saved 25 Percent In August

New numbers have just been released that show Santa Barbara water users conserved 25 percent in August.

The Water Resources Department also revised July’s numbers from an 18 percent to a 20 percent water savings from this time last year.

“So happy to see that. I’ve been talking to so many people in the community. I’ve been seeing their yards and seeing people who are really proud of what they’re doing and it’s great. It gets frustrating if you’re not seeing results so to come back and to be able to tell everybody, ‘You’re right on, you’re doing what you need to be doing and this is good,’ is a good place to be in,” said Joshua Haggmark, the acting water resources manager.

Elings Park is a 230-acre facility that draws hundred of people a day who walk, hike, play sports or ride bikes. They too have been doing their part to cut back on water use.

“Everybody likes green grass, unfortunately we are not able to guarantee that. We are in a stage two drought so we are very careful and judicious with our use of water,” said Michael Nelson, the Elings Park Foundation executive director.

Nelson said a limited watering schedule has been put in place for all the open areas, even the popular outdoor wedding venues.

“You can see some of the brown spots in the distance that obviously need water or we’ll need sod,” he said standing on the lawn of Godric Grove.

The beginning of the week means the soccer fields get a soak. Although the water comes from the reclaimed water facility, the sprinklers are on a timer.

“It’s water. It’s a water resource that is scarce and must be used sparingly and the city routinely reminds us of that,” said Nelson.

Haggmark said Elings Park sets a good example.

“That is great. Elings, they’ve been working closely like our parks department, which has really gone through and prioritized what spaces really need to be green and what grass could be stressed because it’s not being actively played on and what lawn we can really just let go and we can reseed it when the drought is over,” he said.

At the park, it’s not just outside where the conservation is happening. The upper level bathrooms are closed during the week.

Nelson said it’s a work in progress and it’s starting to pay off.

“We’re trying to achieve some balance at the same time conserve water and reduce costs and become more efficient,” he said.

Although the conservation is promising, Santa Barbara is still moving forward with the desalination facility. A presentation of the plant’s progress will take place September 23 in the City Council chambers.

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