The City of Santa Barbara is turning its sights on an old seawater desalination plant to tackle California’s worsening drought and limited water supply. According to Mayor Helene Schneider, the city is willing to spend more than $40 million to reactivate a mothballed seawater desalination plant that opened in 1992 and shut down after just three months of operation. Desalination is the “very last resort,” says Schneider. "We know it's a very big decision to take—and yet at the same time we've done everything we could with our other water supply options."
In the midst of a four year drought, California’s limited snowpack promises another dry year in 2015. Mountain temperatures, which claim the hottest October - January period in 120 years, have prevented a snowpack formation. This snowpack typically provides one third of California’s water through meltwater each spring. The statewide snowpack currently holds only one-twentieth of its multidecade average.
Amid escalating concern regarding California’s continued four year drought, Governor Jerry Brown signed a $1.1 billion emergency drought relief bill into law on Friday. Just under two-thirds, $660 million, is set to go towards improving and increasing the number of flood protection structures in place to protect communities from mudslides and sudden storms. Much of the remaining budget will fund grants for water recycling programs, new wells for drinking water facilities,and improvements at wastewater treatment plants.