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.
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.
- Watch Lake Cachuma during the drought from 2013-2017.
Local Outdoor Water Shortage Emergency Regulations (English and Spanish)
Santa Barbara County
|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.
|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.
|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 since August 15, 2017.
|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.
|City of Santa Maria||Stage I||16%||
Statewide rules apply.
|City of Solvang||Stage II||25% or 2-days/ week irrigation limit||
Stage II was declared on July 28, 2014.
|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.
|Goleta Water District||Stage III||35%||
Stage III was declared on May 12, 2015 and calls for a 35% district-wide reduction.
|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 II||35%||
Stage II was declared and Ordinance No. 95 are adopted in August 2017. All updates on water conservation policies can be found here.
|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||Voluntary 25%||The District has implemented No Water Wasting Restrictions.
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
- Where Does Your Water Come From?
- Rainfall and Reservoir Summary
- Historical Rainfall Information
- County Hydrology Information
What Can We Do to Conserve Water During a Drought?
- Specific Actions to Take to be Water Wise
- Specific Actions for Renters (bilingual)
- Programs From Your Water Provider
- Help Your Trees Survive the Drought
- Save Water Inside and Outside Posters
State and National Water Conservation Resources
Links to Water Resource Information
- Hydrologic Conditions in California
- Snowpack Conditions
- Status of Response to Drought
- US Drought Monitor
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.