Santa Barbara- S County

'Water Hogs' Upset Those Who Try to Conserve

Green lawns still exist during a drought and that is raising questions

Water Hogs

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Some lawns are green. Some are brown.  It's a sign that water users are not necessarily conserving during the on going drought that grips California unlike anything some experts have seen in a lifetime.

Many water districts have raised rates, so big water users will have to pay a heavy tab at the end of the month.  Some customers apparently don't care, as long as their gardens are lush and their lawns are green.

But that's become an issue that's made many residents sopping mad.

Ray Bourhis, has seen the big swing in water use in the area and says the conservation order from the Governor came weeks ago, and it was meant to send a clear message to all California residents. "It's intended for everybody obviously.  Anyone who  is cheating should pay the price for that."

Local lakes are going dry, and it's estimated that millions of dollars will be necessary to develop water solutions.

Most decorative fountains are empty under strict Santa Barbara rules. Some with aquatic life can still have water.

And the city has stopped watering most parks, as residents have noticed with the brown look to the normally scenic waterfront along Cabrillo Boulevard.

John Waggoner,  a who has a home in drought dry Texas, and in water starved Santa Barbara says, "it's so necessary for the well being of everybody for a few to over use it, it's not right."

Water rates have shot up for big users.  In some cases they have water trucked in from other areas.  In other instances, residents don't seem to be phased by the water bills.

Elizabeth Keeter has been watching the water situation closely.

"I think some of it stems from ignorance and some of it is if, 'I have the money I can do whatever I want,' and that's something I just can't stand," said Keeter.

Some residents say the drought is at a crisis level now and it's shocking that more people don't realize it or listen to the water district messages.

"Given the emergency nature of the situation, the county and state agencies are well within their rights, in fact they have the responsibility to do it.   What are we going to do if we run out of water for  health and safety purposes and people are out there watering their begonias?" said  Bouros.

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