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Hotels and restaurants continue to conserve water even with a wet Santa Barbara winter

Even with a wet winter, Santa Barbara hotel and restaurant owners have agreed to keep their conservation levels up.

They met with city water leaders today for an update on supplies and on going conservation efforts.

“Water on request” signs will stay out and towels may not be washed unless they are clearly tossed aside in hotel rooms.

Paul Bullock at the Eagle Inn says laundry costs are among his highest water expenses. ” We are all trying to cut back on excess laundry,” he said. “Everyone also has signs, that say if you don’t need clean towels just leave them on the rack.” He is also going to be very careful with irrigation.

Many Santa Barbara hotels have added drought tolerant plants, and those who are near the inexpensive reclaimed water line are using that supply to turn brown grass green. The recent rains have been a tremendous boost to the greening of the hotel lawns.

City leaders urged caution when it comes to our water supplies.

Cachuma Lake is still more than half empty even though it has risen significantly. A large portion of that water is allocated to regional districts and the downstream users. There is also an environmental release for endangered fish and on going evaporation takes a portion of the supply away.

On top of that the city is hoping to recharge its underground wells which have been drawn down.

Hotel and restaurant owners were able to see the big picture and realize conservation is necessary until the lake is at capacity.

Those who continue to save will also keep their costs down since the rates have gone up in recent years.

Public Works Director Rebecca Rebecca Bjork said when she looks at the current supply, ” Cachuma is where we were in 2014 when we declared stage one drought. So we are far from out of the drought. ”

She said the residents of Santa Barbara were ahead of the rest of California when it came to responding to water saving messages early on in the drought and often conserved more than most of the state.

For more water conservation information go to:

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