As the epic drought continues in its fifth year, my colleagues at the Goleta Water District and I have worked tirelessly to protect and extend our community's precious water supply. 

In the early days of the drought, the District adopted a Drought Preparedness and Water Shortage Contingency Plan to help us navigate what has become the most severe drought in the history of the District. 

Our board declared a Water Shortage Emergency and has authorized the steady moves from initial, suggested water cutbacks to the current Stage III mandatory use restrictions.

The District developed in-house a sophisticated supply-and-demand forecasting model that works on a rolling 24-month time horizon and is updated weekly.

Implementing the voter-approved SAFE Ordinance, we halted issuing new water entitlements on Oct. 1, 2014.

The District offers a wide variety of conservation incentives to every category of customer, including free water conservation check-ups. The remarkable conservation efforts of our community have made the Goleta Valley one of the water-thriftiest communities in the entire state.

Our distribution system was beautifully engineered decades ago to rely primarily on the gravity flow of water from Lake Cachuma.  Now we have turned increasingly to the drought buffer of our groundwater basin. Using our wells, the District is essentially running the system uphill, an engineering feat that no one ever envisioned.  It's being accomplished seamlessly, every day, thanks to the District's incredible Operations Dept.

Our recycled water facility, operated in conjunction with the Goleta Sanitary District, has provided landscaping water to large coastal customers, including UCSB and the Bacara Resort, for more than twenty years, thereby reducing the burden on our potable water supply.

And with every effort we are making, we are still able to offer the lowest water rates on the South Coast to virtually every category of customer, including to all of the local farmers of the Goleta Valley and foothills.