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The California Drought Continues. Let’s Conserve This Precious Resource

Santa Barbara water conservation in action at tis home with drought resistant landscaping

As the California drought continues, WaterWise in Santa Barbara County has stepped up its efforts to promote Santa Barbara water conservation and awareness. That’s good news since Santa Barbara County has been one of 50 counties in the Golden State in a drought emergency since July 8, 2021. And this severe water shortage affects 100% of the population here—that’s a total of 423,895 people in Santa Barbara County alone. But if we all step up and conserve this precious natural resource, like the owners of my Distinctive Toro Canyon Home listing pictured above did, we can make a huge difference.

And step up we should since experts warn that our warming climate coupled with more intense El Niño and La Niña events could cause twice as many droughts and three times as many floods in California in the coming years.

Water supply across Santa Barbara County

County residents obtain their water from several sources: groundwater withdrawal, storm runoff collected in local reservoirs, the State Water Project, desalination, and recycled water. If we all did our part by voluntarily reducing our water consumption by just 15%, we could save more than 850,000 gallons of water over the next year; enough to supply 1.7 million households for an entire year. The good news is that saving water doesn’t have to be a major headache. There are some simple things we all can do to make a difference.

A room in a luxury home with a table and chairs surrounded by windows that show the interesting landscaping

Here are 7 ways to ensure Santa Barbara water conservation every day:

  • Landscape with Drought Resistant Plants
    Adding water-wise, California-native drought-resistant plants in your landscaping will not only conserve water, but, as you can see, will also add major curb appeal. The dramatic landscaping in the photos is a showcase of cacti, and other succulents as well as drought-tolerant flora. Water-wise plants and shade trees use little, or no water once established. Thirsty plants such as lawn and container plants should be a Santa Barbara homeowner’s lowest priority.

  • Are Your Sprinklers Working Properly?
    When your sprinkler heads don’t work properly, you could be throwing water down the drain. Sprinklers can be broken or damaged easily, so have them checked periodically. Also, never, never overwater or water the sidewalk or driveway and only turn on your sprinklers in the early morning hours or at night. Consider adding a drip irrigation system, which works better than sprinklers as it sends targeted amounts of water exactly where you want it.

  • Turn Your Faucet Off!
    You probably don’t realize that an average of four gallons of water is wasted every time you leave your faucet running. Do you really need to leave the water on while you brush your teeth? Imagine all the water you’ll save if your entire family turns off the water while brushing.

  • Check for Leaky Toilets
    Even a slow drip can add up to gallons faster than you might realize. To diagnose a silent toilet leak, place food coloring in your toilet tank and wait to see if the color makes it into the bowl. If you see color seeping in, it’s time for a fix.

  • Time Your Shower
    Set a 10-minute timer whenever you take a shower. Even cutting back a couple of times a week from long showers can make a difference. By shaving off just two minutes, you’ll save 1,750 gallons of water in a year!

  • Wash Your Dishes in the Dishwasher
    Doing a full load in your machine is far more efficient than washing the same number of dishes by hand. This is especially true if you have an Energy Star dishwasher, which requires an average of four gallons of water per load, compared with the 24 gallons it takes to do them in the sink. Using one will save you 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs, and 230 hours of your time each year.

  • Use the Car Wash
    If you think you’re saving water by washing your car by hand, you’re not. In fact, washing your car at home uses two and a half times more water than the car wash!

    A beautiful landscaped yard with a breathtaking view

  • Use Rubber or No Mulch
    As you can see by the image above, these homeowners don’t need to add mulch to their landscaping. But if you must, rubber is a step up from the bark-like texture you’re probably used to seeing. Made from 100% recycled tires, rubber mulch is suitable to use on most landscapes. It has several benefits: a safe play surface for children, prevents weeds, does not attract insects, and water and air can easily flow through it.

To stay informed about Santa Barbara water conservation and the California drought, refer to the  U.S. Drought Monitor, which is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country.

Meantime, if you live in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please remember, the California drought is not over! If you are looking to move to a new property where you can continue to practice ways to conserve water, please call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I’ll happily add your listing to my portfolio of fine homes in the area and find your new dream home for your family. No matter where you live in the Golden State, just remember to take 10-minute showers!

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