SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara's urgent request earlier this year for water users to cut back 20 percent, hasn't worked enough. The city says the reduction has only been 15 percent.
With the drought holding a grip on water supplies, the city has begun Stage Two drought rules.
To encourage conservation a new rate plan is going to kick in, July 1. A final vote will be taken in June. Customers will be sent information later this month as the notification timeline is swiftly put into place.
Santa Barbara city leaders are also watching very carefully the steps that need to be taken to rebuild and restart the ocean water desalination plant. It was stripped back in the early 1990's when it was no long needed. Back then, after years of drought, the expensive plant was built and rarely turned on.
The cost to put the pieces back together has been estimated at $20-million.
The impacts to rate payers is still being worked out and that will be based on many factors including, whether other agencies buy into the desalination operation. The Montecito Water District has already said it is interested.
If the plant is funded, built and turned on water could be flowing in summer of 2016.