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Santa Barbara Man Cuts Water Use By 50 Percent

Californians are asked to cut back water use by 20 percent but one local man was able to more than double that all with a few changes in his yard and around his house.

Jules Bender believes it doesn’t take an expert to be water wise.

“I’m the guy who’s going around asking my neighbors, ‘How much water are you putting on your trees?’ because I don’t know what I’m doing,” said Bender with a laugh.

When he started, he might not have known exactly what to do, but it’s a work in progress.

Bender and his wife cut their water bill in half after a few experiments to see how far they could go to reduce water.

“For some people they can maybe only cut back 5 percent, some people can cut back 50 percent like Jules did so it’s really impressive to see that,” said Madeline Ward, the acting water conservation coordinator.

Bender let his grass die and everything else is watered on a special timer in 13 zones he’s identified around the yard.

The controller for his drip irrigation system turns off when it rains. The City of Santa Barbara even reimbursed him just for updating the technology.

“This controller cost approximately $500, so I got $250 back,” said Bender.

He also took advantage of the rest of the city’s programs.

“We have a free mulch program, we have free water checkups, we also have a rebate program. So we’re there to help people in any way that they can to be able to save water on their property. Especially outside. Most of the water here in the city is used outdoors so that’s where we focus a lot of our efforts,” said Ward.

In the lush backyard, most of the plants are drought tolerant. The water isn’t used for anything but the necessities.

“We’d fill up the fountain and it would drip down from the top and look very pretty, but with the drought we stopped filling up the fountain. It’s the way it is and it’s the way it’s going to stay,” said Bender.

All of his cutbacks add up to reduced water use.

Click here for more water wise tips and for information on rebates.

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