Drought Information

CAdrought

Following unprecedented water conservation and plentiful winter rain and snow, on April 7, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. ended the drought State of Emergency in most of California, while maintaining water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during or right after rainfall. Executive Order B-40-17 lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies. The Order also rescinds two emergency proclamations from January and April 2014 and four drought-related Executive Orders issued in 2014 and 2015. Executive Order B-40-17 builds on actions taken in Executive Order B-37-16, which remains in effect, to continue making water conservation a way of life in California. The State Water Resources Control Board will maintain urban water use reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during or after rainfall, hosing off sidewalks and irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians. As directed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in Executive Order B-37-16, the Board will separately take action to make reporting and wasteful water practices permanent.

For more information, visit the State Water Resources Control Board Water Conservation Portal.

US Drought Monitor: Santa Barbara County remains in a "Moderate Drought" in the State of California and in the Country. To view map updates click here.

Local Conditions

The statewide drought conditions impact each purveyor differently due to the diverse water supply portfolios within the county. Contact your local provider for current and specific information on your area. 

To learn more about water supplies in Santa Barbara County and where your water provider receives its water sources, visit the Where Does Your Water Come From? page.

Local Outdoor Water Shortage Emergency Regulations

    Local Water Shortage Emergency Regulations

    Santa Barbara County
    Water Purveyor
    Emergency Shortage  Conservation Goal Drought Status & Restrictions
    Carpinteria Valley Water District Stage II 20%
    Stage II was declared on May 13, 2015. Ordinance 15-2 adopted mandatory water use restrictions to achieve an immediate 25% community-wide reduction. 
    • Irrigate before 8AM or after 6PM only two days per week (fixed systems)
    • Manually irrigate before 10 AM or after 4 PM only two days per week (by hand or moveable sprinkler)
    • Hoses must be equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle
    • No washing of buildings or hard surfaces such as hardscape, sidewalks and driveways
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    City of Buellton Stage II 25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit
    Stage II was declared August 14, 2014. Resolution 14-19 was passed to adopt SWRCB's drought regulations as City rules. 
    • Irrigate before 8AM or after 6PM
    • No excess runoff
    • No washing of buildings or hard surfaces such as hardscape, sidewalks and driveways
    • No vehicle washing except at a carwash or with hose with a self-closing nozzle
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    City of Guadalupe Stage I 25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit Statewide rules apply.
    City of Lompoc Stage II 12%
    The City has implemented No Water Wasting Restrictions on May 5, 2015.
    • Irrigate before 10AM or after 4PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays
    • No excess runoff
    • All water leaks must be fixed within 8 hours of detection or notification
    • A shut-off nozzle is required when washing a vehicle
    • No washing of hard surfaces
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    City of Santa Barbara Stage III 30%
    Stage III was declared on May 5, 2015 and on April 26, 2016 the conservation target increased to 35% citywide in overall water use. 
    • Effective March 2017, lawn watering ban has been lifted to voluntary.
    • Irrigate before 8AM or after 6PM (automatic systems)
    • Manually irrigate before 10:30AM or after 4PM
    • Hoses must be equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle
    • Irrigation with potable water that causes runoff onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or parking structures is prohibited. Any excessive, unnecessary or unwarranted use of water is prohibited.
    • Vehicles and boats must be washed with a hose equipped with a shut-off nozzle or washed at commercial facilities that recycle the water. 
    • No washing of buildings or hard surfaces such as hardscape, sidewalks and driveways. Exceptions: to correct an immediate threat to health and safety or in preparation of painting or sealing, provided it is accomplished by use of a pressure washer, mop, bucket, or brush.
    • Recirculating fountains with a water surface area greater than 25 ftare prohibited unless located indoorson residential property,or are home to aquatic life
    • Pools and spas must be equipped with a cover when not in use. No draining or refilling of pools by more than one third, unless authorized. 
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    • Fore commercial water use regulations visit the City of Santa Barbara's website
    City of Santa Maria Stage I 16%

    Statewide rules apply.

    • No outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water from 12PM to 4PM
    • No runoff when irrigating with potable water
    • No use of hoses without a shut-off nozzle to wash motor vehicles
    • No use of potable water on driveways or sidewalks
    • No use of potable water in a non-recirculating, decorative water feature
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    City of Solvang Stage II 25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit
    Stage II was declared on July 28, 2014. 
    • Irrigate before 6AM or after 10PM
    • No excess runoff
    • No vehicle washing except at a carwash
    • Immediate fixing of known leaks, etc. 
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    Cuyama CSD Stage II 25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit Statewide rules apply.
    Stage I 32% Stage I was declared on July 1, 2015.
    • Irrigate before 8AM or after 7PM
    • Outdoor irrigation limited to 2 days per week assigned by address
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    Goleta Water District Stage III 35%
    Stage III was declared on May 12, 2015 and calls for a 35% district-wide reduction.
    • Irrigate before 6AM or after 8PM (fixed systems)
    • Commercial landscape irrigation may occur only on Tuesdays and Fridays (fixed systems)
    • Residential landscape irrigation may occur only on Wednesdays and Saturdays (fixed systems)
    • Manually irrigate before 8AM or after 8PM only two days per week
    • Hoses must be equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle
    • No washing of buildings, hardscapes, sidewalks and driveways
    • Outdoor fountains, ponds, waterfalls, or any other outdoor water feature may not be maintained on commercial properties
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    Stage II 25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit Stage II was declared on July 30, 2014 adopting SWRCB regulations.
    Los Alamos CSD Stage I 25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit
    Board passed ordinance on August 27, 2014 adopting SWRCB regulations.
    Mission Hills CSD Stage I   25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit Statewide rules apply.
    Montecito Water District Stage IV 30%
    Stage IV was declared with the mandate that all customers reduce usage by 30% immediately. Ordinance 92 was passed to establish mandatory water use restrictions. Ordinance 93 was passed to impose a water supply allocation to each property. 
    • Irrigate before 7 AM or after 7 PM (fixed systems)
    • Manually irrigate before 10:30 AM or after 4 PM
    • No washing of hard surfaces such as hardscape, sidewalks and driveways
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited
    Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District ID#1 Alert - Below Normal Water Supply Voluntary 10%

    On March 21, 2017, the Board of Trustees rescinded the "Stage 1 – Water Supply Shortage Emergency" and authorized and implemented a non-emergency "Alert – Below Normal Water Supply" status. 

    Vandenberg Village CSD Stage I 25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit The District has implemented No Water Wasting Restrictions. 
    • Irrigate before 10AM or after 4PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays
    • No excess runoff
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours following measurable rainfall is prohibited
    • Potable water is not to be used to clean outdoor hard surfaces, with exemptions for dangerous substances and commercial steam cleaning
    • All water leaks must be fixed as soon as possible after notification by VVCSD
    • A shut-off nozzle is required when washing a vehicle.
    • Restaurants may only serve water to customers upon request
    • Irrigation during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall is prohibited

    Notes: The provisions of each "stage" are not consistent across purveyors. However, the stages generally include the following:

    Stage 1: Voluntary cutbacks in water usage
    Stage 2: Mandatory restrictions on water usage (time of day, car washing, etc.)
    Stage 3: Mandatory cutbacks in water usage (e.g., must reduce by x%)
    Stage 4: Water Shortage Emergency with water rationing

    How Much Water Do We Have and Where Do We Get It From?

    What Can We Do to Conserve Water During a Drought?

    State and National Water Conservation Resources

    Links to Water Resource Information


    What is a Drought?

    The Concept of Drought*

    Drought is a normal, recurrent feature of climate, although many erroneously consider it a rare and random event. It occurs in virtually all climatic zones, but its characteristics vary significantly from one region to another. Drought is a temporary aberration; it differs from aridity, which is restricted to low rainfall regions and is a permanent feature of climate.

    Drought is an insidious hazard of nature. Although it has scores of definitions, it originates from a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time, usually a season or more. This deficiency results in a water shortage for some activity, group, or environmental sector. Drought should be considered relative to some long term average condition of balance between precipitation and evapotranspiration (i.e., evaporation + transpiration) in a particular area, a condition often perceived as "normal". It is also related to the timing (i.e., principal season of occurrence, delays in the start of the rainy season, occurrence of rains in relation to principal crop growth stages) and the effectiveness (i.e., rainfall intensity, number of rainfall events) of the rains. Other climatic factors such as high temperature, high wind, and low relative humidity are often associated with it in many regions of the world and can significantly aggravate its severity.

    Drought should not be viewed as merely a physical phenomenon or natural event. Its impacts on society result from the interplay between a natural event (less precipitation than expected resulting from natural climatic variability) and the demand people place on water supply. Recent droughts in both developing and developed countries and the resulting economic and environmental impacts and personal hardships have underscored the vulnerability of all societies to this "natural" hazard.

    *Excerpted from the National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.