Montecito Association Meets

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   April 18, 2023

At a quiet Montecito Association Board of Directors meeting earlier this week, Montecito Water District general manager Nick Turner reported several happenings at MWD, including an upcoming town hall meeting next week to review and discuss a final draft of Montecito’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan. 

Since the Montecito Groundwater Sustainability Agency was founded in 2018, data collection, analysis, and plan development has been underway. Montecito GSA is completing the State’s required Groundwater Sustainability Plan to be submitted this spring, and includes the following key points: groundwater is an important local source of water that is heavily relied upon by our entire community, particularly during drought; extensive data gathering, analysis, and modeling conducted during GSP development shows that the Basin is in relatively good health; the plan reveals areas where additional information about the Basin is needed, and projects and management actions aimed at filling these data gaps are planned over the next five years; the Montecito GSA will continue to aggressively pursue grant funding as it has done in the past to minimize the financial burden of SGMA compliance on all stakeholders; the Plan was developed over the past several years through the hard work and dedication of many, including staff, expert consultant Dudek, Advisory Committee members, and engaged community members who made critical contributions.

Montecito GSA’s Sustainability Goal is to prevent undesirable results and optimize long-term use of the groundwater basin for the benefit of all stakeholders. This will be achieved through a collaborative, knowledge-based process informed by locally-defined quantitative criteria, ongoing monitoring and modeling, and incremental, data-supported management actions as needed to prevent seawater intrusion and ensure sustainable groundwater levels, storage, and quality. The current Plan Draft is available online at; anyone from the public can review the document and submit comments.

The Town Hall Meeting is Monday, April 17, at 5:30 pm at Fire Station #1, 595 San Ysidro Road. 

Turner also gave an update on the water supply outlook for Montecito, saying it’s likely that the outlook is positive for the next three to four years, but water demand still needs to be kept in check. “While water supplies are great now, it’s important to extend those supplies while we can,” he said, adding that the increase in rains and water availability may lead to the District’s opportunity to store water for drier years. Turner also reported that the District’s Smart Meter program is moving forward with equipment that has arrived and will be fully installed by the end of the week. Customers will be notified when the new program, which gives customers access to real time water use data, is up and running.

Lastly, the Waterwise Garden Recognition Contest is now in full swing. Entries are due by April 30 and can be made online at A Montecito resident won the award last year. 

New Montecito Fire Chief David Neels reported that the District’s insurance rankings have been improved, thanks to training, communication, fire prevention, outreach, location of fire hydrants, and more. The improvement will help inform insurance companies of risk and could have a positive influence on residents’ insurance premiums. “It’s quite an accomplishment,” Chief Neels said. 

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Lieutenant Butch Arnoldi reported on crime in Montecito in the last few weeks. These incidents include mailboxes opened and mail missing in Riven Rock area and on East Valley Road; two drug overdoses at Lower Manning Park; and a traffic stop at Hermosillo and Coast Village roads revealing drug paraphernalia. 

Montecito Association Executive Director Sharon Byrne reported that Union Pacific is doing a major camp clearing along the railroad tracks next week, and the Hands Across Montecito outreach team has been out in full force trying to get homeless people into shelters before the cleanup. 

For more information on Association happenings and upcoming events, visit The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 9.  


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