An expensive race for the Montecito water district

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In Montecito, the top local races on the November ballot are for seats on the water and sanitary district boards. In an extraordinary $120,000 campaign, five candidates are slinging fierce attacks against incumbents. Instead of asking the wealthy, water-guzzling community to conserve by cutting down on watering their lawns and golf courses, these candidates want to keep Montecito residents well quenched by exploring new options, like buying water from Santa Barbara’s desalination plant and using recycled water. But all that could mean untold bill increases for ratepayers, from billionaires to the working class.

Montecito uses 90 percent of its water on landscaping, like this expansive lawn on Cold Springs Road. Photo credit: Melinda Burns.