The dolphins at the base of Stearns Wharf dance above a dry fountain, but the small fish in the pond at the Old Mission have plenty of water for their scenic habitat, even with some of the toughest Santa Barbara drought rules in years.
Last month, Santa Barbara water officials said, efforts to get voluntary water savings from residents and businesses just didn't work. The water savings was too low and the restrictions were going up, along with the cost of water.
Some local fountains have to be shut off under the rules, but others, like those with fish, can stay full. Private property fountains are also exempt.
Stage Two Water restrictions are now in place. They can be found on the city's web site at: http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/pw/resources/system/docs/stage2restrictions.asp
The regulations cover fountains and many other water uses. They read:
- Hoses must be equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
- Washing of pavement and other hard surfaces is generally prohibited. Exception: preventive maintenance of buildings and other facilities if accomplished by means of a pressure washer and when it is the only feasible means of correcting a potential threat to health and safety, provided it is accomplished by use of a pressure washer, mop, bucket, or brush.
- Irrigation is limited to evening and early morning hours between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. If manually operated, such irrigation is allowed only between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:30 a.m.
- Cars and boats must be washed at commercial facilities that recycle the water, or by hose with shut-off nozzle.
- The use of water in ornamental water features and fountains is prohibited except: if located indoors or on residential properties; for fountains that have a total water surface area less than or equal to 25 ft.²; or as of May 20, 2014 are home to aquatic life.
- Pools and spas must be equipped with a cover when not in use. Rebates available.
- No draining or refilling of pools by more than one third, unless authorized.
- Drought notices required in restaurants and hotels; water served on request only.
- Gyms, pools and other businesses providing showers must post drought notices and promote limitation of shower use.
One large fountain at the Loreto Plaza is still flowing. The management company says it is letting the water evaporate away before the fountain is shut down. It's located in an outside dining area.
Tourists posting in front of the Dolphin fountain would normally have flowing water behind them. These days, it's dry and quiet. One suggested using ocean water since it's nearby.
A visitor from Kansas said she brought water with her and would not be using as much of the precious resource in Santa Barbara as possibly others use. She was well aware of the drought and the effort to conserve.