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How to Detect a Leak in your house

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The City of Santa Maria is committed to producing the highest quality drinking water for our customers. To maintain our commitment to our residents, we routinely collect and test water samples - from the source checking purity and identifying potential problems. We are pleased to report that all water delivered to homes and businesses in our community complies will all State and Federal drinking water requirements.

What are the City's water use restrictions?

In January 2014, Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency in California due to severe drought conditions.  Water agencies throughout the State of California were mandated to conserve water.  The City of Santa Maria, like many other water agencies, has been subject to various Executive Orders issued by Governor Brown and the Emergency Regulations adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board.  

These specific water restrictions have been in place since late 2014:

  • No outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.;
  • No runoff when irrigating with potable water;
  • No use of hoses without a shut-off nozzle to wash motor vehicles;
  • No use of potable water on driveways or sidewalks; and
  • No use of potable water in a non-recirculating, decorative water feature.

The latest restrictions imposed by the State are:

  • No application of potable water to outdoor landscapes during or within 48 hours after measurable rainfall;
  • No irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians; and
  • All irrigation using potable water outside newly constructed homes or buildings must be in  accordance with emergency regulations or other requirements established by the Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development.

How does the City monitor water usage? 

The City is closely monitoring the City’s overall water use, and using existing technology to help apply the new regulations. The City’s water meter system records hourly water use, and will be used to identify potential leaks and customers not following the regulations. For example, staff can use the system to identify landscape meters that are operating during restricted hours (12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) or operating within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.

What are the consequences if residents do not follow the regulations? 

The Utilities Department is working on its public outreach campaign to let the community know about the restrictions. Check our Facebook Page for current news: . The City wants to educate residents and business owners about water regulations. If the City observes a violation, staff will first try to educate the responsible party and encourage conservation. If education does not work, the City can pursue enforcement against violators under City Municipal Code Section 8-10.33(b). Under this code, the Utilities Department can shut off the water if we observe a willful and negligent waste of water. The City would not turn the water back on until the customer pays a turn-on fee ($46.90). 

Is there a place where someone can report a water waste or water leak?

Yes. Call the Water Conservation Hotline at 925-0951 ext. 2802, or Email the Water Conservation Hotline at, or call the Water Conservation Specialist at 925-0951 ext. 7235.

Does the City have turf removal or toilet rebates?

The California Department of Water Resources is funding a statewide program to collectively replace more than 50 million square feet of laws and ornamental turfs with drought-tolerant landscapes, and a program to encourage residents to change out toilets for low-flow models. Residents interested in rebates may find the current State-funded rebate program information at This site has all the information, including requirements and application forms, for both turf replacement and toilet replacement rebates being offered. The City supports these types of incentives in the community to help Santa Maria continue to meet its conservation requirements.    

What are the recommendations of the Utilities Department to establish saving water as a priority?

Even though the Santa Maria Valley Groundwater Basin's storage is plentiful (2 million to 3 million acre-feet), conserving water in Santa Maria is important because it protects our water supplies for future generations. Each year, the month of May is “Water Awareness Month” in the City of Santa Maria – to promote the wise use of water resources and offer free in-home visits to evaluate water use and provide suggestions for conservation. 

How is the City motivating the residents to make a change and save more water?

Because water service is metered, the  less water you use, the less you pay.  The City offers a Water Conservation Specialist to visit customers and identifies methods to reduce water use. Customers can contact the Utilities Department at 925-0951 ext. 7270 to request a home visit.  Devices to reduce water use – the City offers low-flow shower heads, toilet banks, shower timers, water gauges, and other devices to help reduce water use.

The Utilities Department also created a Water Usage Calculator  found on this webpage (above).


3115-WaterConservationTipsAndIdeasWater Conservation Tips & Ideas



  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save four gallons a minute. That's 200 gallons each week for a family of four which averages out to $3.61/month
  • Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor. Saves three gallons each day.
  • Drop that tissue in the trash instead of flushing it down the toilet and save gallons of water every time.
  • Before you lather up, install a low-flow showerhead. They're inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you and your family more than 500 gallons a week which averages out to $9.05/month
  • Shorten your showers to five minutes. Wash, lather, and rinse! This will help you reduce and save up to 700 gallons of water a month which averages out to $3.17/month      



  • When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed.
  • Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan.
  • Don't defrost frozen foods with running water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave.
  • Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage can more.



  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full and you could save up to 1000 gallons which averages out to $4.52/month.



  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Choose water-efficient drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs, and flowers.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk.
  • Always water during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler, to minimize evaporation.


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3115-HowToDetectALeakInYourHouseHow To Detect A Leak In Your House


Be your own plumber and save yourself a lot of money by grabbing a wrench and check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets, and couplings. It's simple, inexpensive, and can save your and your family about 100 gallons each month.

  • Look at all your pipes inside your house. Check underneath the kitchen sink, bathroom, laundry room, and the front/ back hose bib. If you noticed that there is a slow leak or a wet spot around the area, you may have a leak in your pipes.
  • Listen for dripping faucets and toilets that flush by themselves. Fixing a leak can save a family up to 500 gallons a month.
  • Feel for drips and leaks inside and outside your house. For hard to reach areas grab a flashlight and feel the pipes for vibration of water flowing through. Or grab a rag and hold it against your pipes and if the rag is wet you have a leaky pipe.


3115-LFRP04A leaking faucet can waste more than 3,820 gallons of water a year. Take time and check each tap in the house, and replace worn washers or valve seats.

Some of the leaks may also come from your irrigation system. Every month have inspect your sprinklers and see if they are flowing right and that there Adjust your watering schedule to the season. Water your summer lawn every third day and your winter lawn every fifth day.

Leaks outside the house may not seem as unbearable since they don't mess up the floors or drive your crazy at night. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks in the line from the water meter - even more wasteful.

Your water meter can also detect a leak in your water system. If you have a meter, it is usually located in a meter box in a small concrete vault near the street. Turn off all faucets in and around the home, check the meter, wait about 10 to 15 minutes, and check the meter again. If the meter reading has changed, you have a leak. Check your water meter and bill to track you water usage.

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3115-LowWaterPressureLow Water Pressure


If you are experiencing any low water pressure inside or outside of your house, here are some examples that may cause you to have low water pressure:

  1. Partially opened valve - Locate your hose bib outside of your house. Next to the hose bib there should be a turning valve. Check to see if the valve is turned on all the way. That may help increase the flow of water coming into your house.
  2. Old water heater - The longevity of most water heaters ranges from 10 to 15 years. Most water heaters may have sediments sitting at the bottom of their tanks. The sediments (which may cause deterioration in your pipes) could be one of the problems related to low water pressure. Flush your water heater 2 or 3 times a year. This helps your water heater to get rid of the sediments that is building up.
  3. 3115-LFRP02Water softeners - Water softeners may cause clogged filtration and low water pressure. Most City residents have turned off their water softeners since the inception City has been receiving State Water. Check your water softener filtration once a month.
  4. Kitchen/ Bathroom aerators - Some aerators contain lime, rust, and calcium build up. Most aerators come in different sizes and shapes depending what type of fixtures you have in your house. Please check your kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, and shower heads to see if water is flowing freely. Products such as low flow shower heads and low flow sink aerators helps to save money and conserve water.


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3115-LocalWaterPurveyorsLocal Water Purveyors



City of Santa Barbara 564-5460
Goleta Water District 964-6761
City of Santa Maria 925-0951
Vandenberg Village CSD** 733-3417
Carpinteria Valley Water District 684-2816
Montecito Water District 969-2271
Cuyama CSD** (661) 766-2780
Golden State Water Company - Orcutt 1-800-999-4033
City of Guadalupe 343-1340
La Cumbre Mutual Water Co. 967-2376
City of Lompoc 875-8298
Los Alamos CSD** 344-4195
Mission Hills CSD** 733-4366
City of Buellton 686-5177
Santa Ynez River WCD ID #1 688-6015
City of Solvang 688-5575
Please note: All numbers are within the 805 area code unless otherwise noted.
**CSD - Community Services District



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What is Smart Irrigation?

3115-ETControllerPromotes healthy and attractive landscaping by improving watering efficiency with new "Smart" technologies such as Smart Irrigation Controllers and Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles. Even better, use these technologies together for the most savings

Smart Irrigation Controllers



    Let the weather decide when the sprinklers come and save water!


    Santa Maria Valley Sustainable Garden
    624 W. Foster Road, Santa Maria - FREE
    Demonstrates resource efficient landscaping, featuring low water using plants, efficient irrigation, lawn alternatives, composting, and use of paved areas. Self-guided tours only.

    Open 8:00 am to sunset. For information, call (805) 568-3546



    The Green Gardener Program for Santa Barbara County educates local gardeners in resource efficient and pollution prevention landscape maintenance practices. The Green Gardener Program is a regional program designed to offer education, training, and promotion of participating gardeners and landscape maintenance contractors.

    Se habla espanol: 805-564-5460

    County Wide Sponsors

    • Santa Barbara Bank and Trust
    • County of Santa Barbara Water Agency
    • Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District
    • County of Santa Barbara Resource Recovery and Waste Management Division
    • Ewing Irrigation



    South County Sponsors

    • All Around Landscape Supply
    • Carpinteria Valley Water District
    • City of Santa Barbara Water Conservation
    • Goleta Water District
    • La Cumbre Mutual Water Company
    • Montecito Water District
    • Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
    • Santa Barbara City College (SBCC)
    • District Continuing Education Division
    • Aqua-Flo Supply



    North County Sponsors



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      3115-WaterSavingPlantsWater Saving Plants




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      Various classroom materials focusing on water issues are available to teachers throughout Santa Barbara County. These materials are free of charge to Santa Barbara County teachers and students, unless otherwise noted. Most of these resources can be mailed to you from the Santa Barbara County Water Agency. To place an order, please call (805) 568-3440, download an order form or contact the number listed for each item. If you are outside of Santa Barbara County, many materials are available through the California Department of Water Resources water education webpage.


      City of Santa Maria Blending Station and Wastewater Treatment Plant (K-12)

      At the blending station, students will learn about the chloramination process and its importance. At the wastewater treatment plant, students will have the opportunity to view the wastewater treatment process firsthand. To arrange a tour, call (805) 925-0951 Ext. 7270


      The objective is for high school students to create local water related public service announcments and thereby increasing their awareness of water issues and enhancing the public's knowledge of water conservation programs in Santa Barbara County.

      Participants receive the following prizes:



        All participants are invited along with their families, classmates, teacher, and principal, to the Awards Ceremony, held in May, in Santa Barbara, CA. Winners will be presented with a certificate, and will get their picture taken with local officials from their water district or city. A picture of winners and a press release will go out to the media across Santa Barbara County.

        Checks are made out to the school and are intended for use by video classes or high schools, not by individual students.

        3115-ClassPresentationCLASS PRESENTATIONS

        Actively involve your students in learning about water by inviting a Water Education Specialist into your classroom. Sign up early, though, staff is limited and presentations are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.


        To arrange a presentation, please contact the following water education specialists:

        Santa Barbara School District City of Santa Barbara 897-2672
        Goleta Union School District Goleta Water District 879-4643
        Lompoc Unified School District City of Lompoc 875-8298
        Santa Maria School District City of Santa Maria 925-0951, ext 7235
        Other School Districts Santa Barbara County Water Agency 568-3541


        The list below outlines the programs available in your area. All presentations meet California State Content Standards (see below). For additional presentations about Water Quality, click Project Clean Water, or call 568-3546.

        All About Water (K-1st)

        Time: 30 minutes
        Colorful pictures and a short cartoon add an entertaining visual element to this presentation. Students will learn about local water resources, the water cycle and water conservation through an interactive discussion and hands-on activities.
        Science Standards: K: 1b, 3b-c; 1st: 1a, 2b, 3b-c; 2nd: 2e
        Math Standards: K: N.S. 1.1, 1.3; M.G. 1.1, 1.2; 1st: S.D.A.P. 1.1, 1.2; 2nd: N.S. 1.2, 4.1, 4.2, S.D.A.P. 1.4, M.R. 3.0
        English Standards: K: W.O. 1.1, L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 2.1; 1st: W.O. 1.1, L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4; 2nd: L.S. 1.2, 1.3

        For additional materials to prepare your class or follow-up on a presentation, see our Classroom Materials page.

        America's Salad Bowl (1st-3rd)

        Time: 30 minutes
        Students will understand the importance of water as a natural resource and how it is used in agriculture. They will be able to identify what types of crops are grown in Santa Barbara County and how much water is used to grow different types of foods.
        Science Standards: 1st:1a-b, 2b, 2e, 3b-c; 2nd: 2e, 3c; 3rd: 1a, 1e-f, 3d
        Math Standards: 1st: N.S. 1.1, 1.2, 2.6, S.D.P. 1.2; 2nd: N.S. 1.1, 2.2, 2.3, 4.2; 3rd: N.S. 1.1, 2.1, A.F. 2.1
        English Standards: 1st: Reading 1.1, W.O. 1.1, L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.1;.2nd: Reading 1.1,W.O. 1.3, L.S. 1.2, 1.3, 1.6; 3rd: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8

        For a worksheet to prepare your class or follow-up on this presentation, see our Classroom Materials free downloads.

        The Water Puzzle (2nd-4th)

        Time: 60 minutes
        An overview of the water cycle starts the presentation. Students will then play the water web game to learn about connections in the environment and the importance of water. A big colorful water puzzle will show students the journey water takes from local water sources to our homes and where it goes after use. Students will learn about local water resources, water treatment, and water conservation through an interactive discussion and hands-on activities.
        Science Standards: 2nd: 2e; 3rd: 1a, 1e-f, 3d; 4th: 3b, 4c; 5th: 3a-e; 6th: 2a-c, 4a
        Math Standards: 2nd: N.S. 1.2, 4.1, 4.2, S.D.P. 1.4, M.R. 3.0; 3rd: N.S. 3.1, A.F. 2.1; 4th: N.S. 3.4, S.D. P. 1.3; 5th: A.F. 1.1; 6th: M.R. 2.4
        English Standards: 2nd: L.S. 1.2, 1.3; 3rd: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8; 4th: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9; 5th: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.6; 6th: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 2.5a-b

        For additional materials to prepare your class or follow-up on a presentation, see our Classroom Materials page.

        The Story of Water (4th-6th)

        Time: 60 minutes
        Students learn about their local water sources, the water cycle, water treatment, wastewater treatment and the importance of water in the world. Local rainfall patterns and impact on water supplies will be explained. Presentation includes colorful displays, big puzzles and hands-on activities.
        Science Standards: 5th: 3a-b-c-d-e
        Math Standards: 4th: N.S., 3.3, A.F., 1.2, 1.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.3; 5th: N.S.,2.3, 2.5, A.F. 1.1, 1.3, M.R. 1.1, 2.4, 2.6, 3.1, 3.3; 6th: N.S. 1.2, M.R. 2.7, 3.1, 3.3

        For additional materials to prepare your class or follow-up on a presentation, see our Classroom Materials page.

        The Water Supply Decision (7th-8th)

        Time: 50 minutes
        Students will learn about the environmental and social impacts of the State Water Project and the decision-making process regarding new water supplies for the County.
        Science Standards: 7th: E.S. 4a,c
        History & Social Science Standards: 8th: 8.6.1, 8.8.4, 8.12.1
        English Standards: 7th: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 8th: L.S. 1.2, 1.9

        For additional materials to prepare your class or follow-up on a presentation, see our Classroom Materials page.

        Groundwater Model (K-12th)

        Time: 60 minutes
        This hands-on demonstration of groundwater principles with the groundwater model will demonstrate the different types of wells and groundwater issues common in California. Topics will include movement of a contamination plume, groundwater recharge, nonpoint source pollution and saltwater intrusion.
        Science Standards: K: 1a, 3c, 4a-e; 1st: 1a, 3b-c, 4d-e; 2nd: 1a-b, 3a,e, 4c,g; 3rd: 1e, 5d; 4th: 4a, 5a-c; 5th: 3a-e, 6a; 6th: 2a-b, 5e, 6b; 7th: 4a,c; 8th: 1a; 9th-12th: B/L.S. 6b, E.S. 3c, 9c, I.E. 1d
        Math Standards: K: M.G. 1.1, 1.2; 1st: M.G. 2.1, 2.3, 2.4; 2nd: M.R. 3.0; 3rd: M.G. 1.1; 4th: M.R. 1.1, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3; 5th: M.R. 3.1, 3.2, 3.3; 6th: M.R. 1.1; 7th: M.R. 2.2; 8th-12th: A 3.0, G 11.0
        English Standards: K: W.O. 1.1, L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 2.1; 1st: W.O. 1.1, L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4; 2nd: L.S. 1.2, 1.3; 3rd: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 4th: L.S. 1.1, 1.2; 5th: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 6th: L.S. 1.3; 7th: L.S. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; 8th: L.S. 1.2, 1.9; 9th-10th: 1.1; 11th-12th: L.S. 1.3

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