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Solvang Could Revisit Discussion to Declare Stage 2 Drought

SOLVANG, Calif. - Solvang is looking at ways to deal with its water crisis, which includes increasing water use restrictions.

Last night the city council discussed the possibility of declaring Stage 2 drought conditions. The city declared stage 1 in January, calling for a voluntary 20% cut in water usage. It also set in motion a number of conservation requirements. You can't get water at a restaurant unless you ask for it, and you can't do any outdoor watering for most of the day. Stage 2 includes these measures, but with stricter enforcement for decreasing usage.

"Stage 2, it becomes more mandatory because there is a punitive penalty in the rate structure once you get over that 20 percent," said Solvang City Manager Brad Vidro.

State Water makes up about 70% - 80% of Solvang's use. Because of the drought, Solvang won't be getting any State Water this year.

As the city considers stricter conservation enforcement, it's also looking for more options.
"We're spending some money in our water fund to find new sources," says Vidro. "We're looking at potential well sites and we just adopted our EIR for our Water Master Plan that includes new river wells and we're pursuing that."

City council could revisit this issue and talk about some modifications to the Stage 2 drought conditions, particularly how it applies to businesses. Vidro says that could be in the next month.

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