Santa Barbara has opened a state of the art Desalination Plant in hopes to deliver filtered water to homes using less power. The plant can produce almost three million gallons of filtered water a day. That is almost 30% of the city’s water needs. The process includes conditioning the water to make it compatible with existing infrastructure and water supplies. The city will continue to monitor for lead contamination and copper in the water supply, along with corrosion testing to make sure that desalinated water has no negative impacts on the city’s water pipes. The city of Santa Barbara relies on multiple water sources to meet customer’s needs – including surface water from Gibraltar Reservoir, Cachuma Reservoir, the State Water Project, groundwater, and conservation. With recurring droughts across the state, some of these sources are less reliable or unavailable, making desalinated water a key addition. Desalinated water alone cannot solve all the water challenges; the city of Santa Barbara continues to examine all opportunities to increase the quantity, and improve the quality of their water supplies. Conservation will continue to be an important part of ensuring a sustainable water supply for Santa Barbara. The impacts of current drought in the region, will last several years and the groundwater basins will take five to ten years to recharge. The most notable difference with desalinated water is that it is generally softer. Soft water contains lower levels of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium, meaning it could eliminate or reduce the use of water softeners for some customers. It will be important to check with your water softener service to see if you need to adjust your current system. It’s important to follow water conservation programs to help with the continued drought and demand for clean drinking water. It may be a good time to evaluate getting a water softener in Santa Barbara to help conserve water. Keep in mind when buying plants for your yard, some plants require more water than others. Adjust the time and amount of water that goes on your landscape. Removing sod and replacing with a “desert” landscape will help water conservation also.