Water Moratorium Ends

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   June 6, 2019

At last week’s Montecito Water District Board of Directors meeting, the Board adopted Ordinance 96, which eliminates the prohibition on issuance of new water meters and brings water use restrictions up-to-date and consistent with the declared Stage 1 water shortage emergency and current water supply conditions. The water meter moratorium had been in effect since early 2014, in response to a water shortage emergency. 

“It’s our duty to serve water to the population and parcels within our boundaries,” said Board President Floyd Wicks. “The District’s water supply plan now is in line with the community plan for this area. We are intentionally moving to more local, reliable supplies, which is what the voters requested. Whatever the next drought may bring, I hope that meter moratoriums will be a thing of the past for this community.”

Effective immediately, the new Ordinance 96 repeals and replaces its predecessor, yet retains many of the water use restrictions included in Ordinance 95 that promote water conservation and aim to avoid unnecessary water waste.The decision came at the end of a rain-filled season, and just one month after staff provided a detailed water supply update and presented an analysis on the potential increase in demand that issuing new meters might produce. The projected increase in demands resulting from the issuance of new meters equates to less than a 2% increase in the District’s overall annual water use.

Those seeking new water service will need to apply for a Certificate of Water Service Availability. The submittal requirements for development projects include the submission of development and landscape plans, as well as an estimated exterior water use calculations completed by a licensed architect, landscape designer, or engineer. Once District staff review the application and ensure the estimated water use is in accordance with current water use limitations, a Final Certificate of Water Service Availability will be issued. The applicant will then be required to submit a Meter Application, which includes a fixture unit count, irrigation calculations, and fire flow calculations. New connection costs range from $16k to $79k, dependent on the size of the water meter. 

While the vote was unanimous, discussion of Ordinance 96 was lengthy. Ongoing education for the public on conservation and best practices for efficient water use was of particular concern. To help address this, new meter applicants will be provided with information on best practices for efficient water use, and applicants will be encouraged to schedule an on-site, no-charge consultation with the District’s Conservation Specialist.

Next month the Board is expected to approve the budget for the new fiscal year which begins July 1, 2019.All Board and Committee meetings are open to the public; dates are posted to the online District Calendar, and agendas, minutes, and packets are available at the office or online. Community participation is encouraged.

For more information about applying for new water meter service, visit www.montecitowater.com/customer-service/newmeters/.


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