Water Wise Community Demonstration Sites in the Santa Barbara area

Want to get some idea of what water harvesting looks like? Visit one or more of these community demonstration sites created between 2012 and 2018:

Spencer Adams Park, 1216 De La Vina, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Ocean Friendly Gardens led a series of hands-on workshops to create a dry creekbed fed by rainwater from a nearby roof, alongside a  native garden in an area that had been lawn. Barbara Wishingrad of Sweetwater Collaborative helped to create this project that was completed in November 2012.

Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, 1415 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Multiple downspouts are redirected to large basins to collect roof runoff in this garden that flourishes without irrigation most of the year. Wilson Environmental was the contractor. The project included a hands-on workshop that Barbara Wishingrad of Sweetwater Collaborative participated in, in September 2013.

Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93109. A 2500 gal raintank was installed in a hands-on workshop in January 2014 by Sweetwater Collaborative and Watershed Management Group. You can see the tank behind the Facilities building just to the west of the Lifescape Garden. The tank overflow is directed into the garden. Barbara Wishingrad and other Sweetwater Collaborative colleagues helped to create this project. Fred Hunter (one of Sweetwater's instructors) and his Landscape Construction class students enhanced the tank overflow/earthworks in 2017.

Schott Center, 310 W. Padre Sr, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. A dry creekbed and native garden was created in two hands-on workshops, led by Watershed Management Group of Tucson, AZ, also in January 2014. The garden is fed by rainwater harvested from a nearby roof, and can be seen on Padre St, near the Auditorum.  Barbara Wishingrad and other colleagues of Sweetwater Collaborative helped to create this project.

Carpinteria Valley Water District offices at 1301 Santa Ynez Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013. Sweetwater Collaborative led two hands-on workshops in September and November 2016 to create rainwater harvesting earthworks and a plant pallete of mostly succulents as a demonstration garden at the Water District headquarters. About 25 volunteers participated in each workshop.

Wake Center, 300 N Turnpike Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 9311. In the front parking lot, you can find two sets of curb cuts, on two different islands. These cuts pave the way for stormwater to flow into the mulch basins on the islands, irrigating vegetation there instead of gathering speed and pollutants as it makes it way downhill. Just off of that parking lot, alongside the Auditorium, there is a rain garden that uses water collected on two sections of the roof. Barbara Wishingrad, Fred Hunter, and Josh Graning of Sweetwater Collaborative led students from the Advanced Green Gardener class in creating these projects in February 2017.

Impact Hub Funk Zone at 10 E Yanonali St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Around the back off of the parking lot, there is a native garden in the narrow spaces, and a tropical garden in the triangular space, that is fed by air conditioning condensate. Both gardens were put in in Sweetwater Collaborative workshops in December 2017 and February 2018.

The Butterfly Garden at Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, 1500 Santa Barbara St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 was in need of ersoion control. The UC Master Gardeners, who tend the Butterfly Garden, partnered with Sweetwater Collaborative and the City of Santa Barbara to put in some rolling dips across the DG path, mulch basins, and a low retaining wall in November 2019. Problem solved.