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Despite rain, turf water ban will be considered again in Santa Barbara

Even with a few days of light rain, the dire drought conditions in Santa Barbara have city leaders facing tough options to keep supplies flowing for local needs through 2017.

Leaders will again look at the possibility of a turf or lawn watering ban beginning in January. That discussion takes place Tuesday. The last time it was brought up, the idea was rejected. At the same time, residents were praised for cutting back on water use, at a rate over 35 percent and higher than most cities.

Water officials say a lawn watering ban is a solid option to use when combined with a master water plan under the current conditions.

It would not apply to certain locations, including sports fields, ceremonial sites, and lawns that are approved as low water use.

Some locations that irk residents when they see sprinklers on, such as ballfields along Cabrillo Boulevard or the Montecito Country Club golf course, actually have reclaimed water in their irrigation line, not drinking water.

The city says it has water purchases awaiting a shared but crowded delivery timeline in the State Water pipeline that is used by other local water agencies.

In the meantime, the citizens will have to increase conservation to 40 percent, and a report says other supplies will have to be delivered in full, such as the allocation from Cachuma Lake, underground wells, and eventually the desalination plant water. ( Scheduled for mid February.)

A report says, should any of the planned water sources become unavailable, “the City would be in a catastrophic shortage requiring more extreme measures to cut water usage.”

Future water forecasts by the government do not have an optimistic picture to them and the projected, but uncertain, water supplies appear to be lower than what it will take to begin coming out of the drought.

Already staff members are planning for worsened water supply conditions.

For more specifics on the city report Tuesday go to:

{more details and video will be posted here later today.}

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