The Santa Barbara County Water Agency, part of the Network of Santa Barbara County Water Providers is launching a new campaign, titled Water-Wise, to promote water conservation throughout the county.

The centerpiece of the campaign is the newly remodeled website, which provides numerous tips on using water efficiently. The program also features a free water check-up service through which residents and businesses can schedule visits by local technicians who assess properties’ water use efficiency and suggest methods of practicing conservation.

UCSB alumnus and SBCWA Program Specialist Randy Turner said the website provides creative methods of water conservation that citizens might not already be aware of.

“The new WaterWiseSB website has become Santa Barbara County’s go-to resource for all things related to water education and conservation,” Turner said. “We all have some awareness of water as a crucial resource and take steps to not blatantly waste water. Our website highlights the many new ways to save water most people don’t yet know about.”

According to the website, 50 to 70 percent of water used by the average Santa Barbara County home goes toward irrigation of the landscape as well as watering lawns and gardens. The program aims to provide helpful advice to maintain water-friendly gardens, including how to choose plants, such as cacti, that require little water.

Some water-friendly practices include watering at night to combat evaporation and adjusting watering times to account for rain or cooler periods.

Turner said Gauchos can also help preserve water as well as save money on plumbing repairs.

“UCSB students who want to conserve water can start with making sure you and your roommates are not leaving the water running when you’re washing dishes and brushing your teeth,” Turner said. “If you have a leaking fixture or toilet, go to our Videos page and find out how easy it is to fix most common problems without having to call your landlord or spend a lot of money on a plumber.”

According to Turner, the biggest water consumption challenges facing our area are related to local climate and general availability of water from northern California. He added that the provision of water through the state project is subject to change as the semi-arid nature of our area is prone to minimal rainfall.

In light of global warming concerns and general issues surrounding depletion of the world’s resources, Turner said he hopes earth-friendly practices like water conservation will begin to play an increasingly major role in the lives of everyday Americans.

“We hope our community will continue to make water conservation part of our normal behavior so we can stretch our water supplies for the inevitable dry years to come,” Turner said.