News Archives

The Drought and Water-Wise Landscaping

droughtThe Upper East Association hosted an event in June 2014 for our membership to learn how we can conserve water and lower our water bills. Madeline Ward, Water Conservation Coordinator for the City of SB spoke about the drought, our current water supply and various ways in which we can conserve water – both inside the house and in our landscaping. Betsy Collins, Director of Horticulture at the SB Botanic Gardens discussed the importance of planting Native Plants. They not only thrive with little water but also reduce the need for pesticides and provide a habitat and food for pollinators and other beneficial wildlife.

Did you know….?

Conventional washers built before 2011 typically use about 40 gallons per load; a resource-efficient washer may use as little as 15 gallons per load.
Dishwashers use less water than hand washing, particularly if you limit pre-rinsing.
A faucet leaking 60 drops per minute will waste 192 gallons per month. That is equal to 2,304 gallons per year.
Reducing a 10-minute shower to 5 minutes will save 12.5 gallons of water if the showerhead has a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (even more if the showerhead has a higher flow rate).
Replacing an older toilet that uses 3.50 gallons per flush (gpf) with a HET that uses 1.28 gpf will save 2.22 gpf.
A running toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water per day.
Test your irrigation system by manually turning it on 3-4 times a year to look for leaks, runoff, and waste. Fix as needed.
Check water bills for any instances of high water use, as this may indicate a leak.
Turf grasses, annual flowers and vegetables are usually high water usage plants. Ornamental shrubs and ground covers may use 40% to 60% less water than turf or annual flowerbeds. Consider planting drought-resistant plants, including many regionally adapted and native plants that thrive on minimal or no supplemental water. Many of these plants can survive strictly on seasonal rainfall once they are established.

To learn more, check the following websites:

Water Wise Santa Barbara

Conserving Water – Indoors

Conserving Water – Outdoors

Watering Trees in a Drought

Gardening with Native Plants

Water Conservation – City Website

 Nixle, a Community Notification Service

phoneringingThe Santa Barbara Police Department provides a Community Notification Service called “Nixle” to improve communication with people who live, work, and visit our area. The system provides a quick, efficient, and secure way to get neighborhood-level information out to community members who subscribe to the system. Through, the department is able to send text message (SMS) and e-mail alerts to subscribers in a specific area.

Notifications might be considered in the following instances:

A young child or an adult with Alzheimer’s disease walks away from home. The alert can include a picture of the individual with a map identifying the area where he or she was last seen.
A public safety emergency requires people to stay in or remain away from their homes. A Nixle alert can let residents with a registered address in the affected neighborhood know what’s happening.
A serious injury or fatal crash in which traffic investigators close down an intersection for several hours during the morning commute. This situation might warrant a notification to subscribers who live or work in the area, encouraging them to select a different route.
Current crime trends and requests to identify possible suspects.
Through Nixle, the Police Department delivers messages securely to citizens by e-mail and cell phone, supporting and expanding its community outreach efforts. Because the system is most effective with large numbers of subscribers, you are encouraged to sign up and to spread the word about the system.

Nixle is a secure communications service available to municipal, county, and state government agencies. The system is available at no cost to our citizens, though standard text message rates apply for subscribers who do not have text plans with their cell phone providers. Residents can receive technical and non-technical assistance directly from Nixle by sending email to

If you have questions about how the Police Department is utilizing the system, please contact …

Lieutenant James P. Pfleging
Watch Commander
Santa Barbara Police Department
215 E. Figueroa Street Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 897-2378

Recycling batteries, cell phones & plastic bags

recyclingYou can recycle batteries and old cell phones with your weekly MarBorg trash pickup. Place the batteries and phones in a plastic bag and put the bag on top of the blue recycle bin. Your friendly MarBorg collector will take them away for you.

Also, a reminder that clean plastic bags are accepted in your blue recycle bin. The following types of bags are okay:

  • Any plastic bag or wrapping marked with #2 or #4
  • White plastic grocery sacks the stores use to bag your purchases
  • Clear bags used for produce
  • Santa Barbara News-Press bags
  • Drycleaner bags

It’s no longer necessary to take them to a grocery store or discard them in the trash.  However, it’s best to bundle them together (not loose).  Loose bags tend to wrap around the equipment at the processing facility and cause maintenance issues.

For more information, the City website has a helpful discussion about recycling plastic bags.