3622 Sagunto Street Santa Ynez, Ca 93460


FAQ's -Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Special District Tax Assessment in 2016?

This is an Ad Valorem Special Assessment that is collected by the County on land value only for those parcels within the District’s service area inclusive of properties in the City of Solvang for repayment of bond and debt obligations, and financing of the District’s water system on-going capital expenditures.  This Assessment was in place for many years and since 1996 remained at $750,000 per year which was less than the legal appropriations limitation.  

In May 2011, the Assessment was suspended by a previously sitting majority of the Board of Trustees.  That past action resulted in the property owners within the District having a reprieve or a rate break over the course of 5½ years.  However, this also significantly impacted the District’s ability to generate revenues for repayment of those voter approved debt and bond obligations, and the on-going capital programs for aging infrastructure associated with the District’s water and fire protection system for all customers including the City of Solvang.  

Over the course of 5½ years without the Assessment, no water rate adjustments from 2011 to 2013, and minimal water rates adjustment beginning in 2013, along with the significantly lower water sales due to water conservation restrictions by the State and higher water costs, the District used its reserves to meet those debt and expenditure obligations which have been depleted from $7 million to $1.7 million.  Even with reduced spending and budget cuts, water sales revenues alone have not been sufficient to maintain reserves while meeting debt obligations.   This necessitated the reinstatement of the Assessment.

In June 2016, the Board of Trustees approved the reinstatement of the Ad Valorem Special Assessment collection by the County on land value only for all properties within the District’s service area. This was effective the beginning of the fiscal year and will show up on this year’s tax bills. 

There are several reasons that the collection of the Assessment was reinstated at the historic amount.   This includes the repayment of two bond obligations; financing the continuous replacement and betterment of the aging distribution system that every customer benefits from for drinking water, agriculture water and fire protection; and, the State has now required the District to treat the groundwater it produces to meet certain State mandated health standards.  All of this means greater costs for the system ranging from the District’s two 6.5 million gallon reservoirs, one 3.25 million gallon storage tank, its water production wells, pressure zone booster pumps, the State Water Project and Cachuma  turnout facility, the 100 miles of pipelines that distribute water and provide fire protection to all customers including the City of Solvang.  The system must remain in the best operating condition in order to keep water flowing and available upon customer demand. 

The Assessment provides funding from all parcel owners not just the ID No.1 customers but the City of Solvang residents as well to meet needs for delivering safe, healthy, and dependable water for all uses.   


Why does my water appear milky or cloudy?

A milky or cloudy appearance is usually caused by air bubbles in the water, which pose no health risk. If the water is allowed to sit, the air will dissipate and the water will clear. If the cloudiness does not disappear, please contact us so that we may investigate.

What causes the spots on my dishes?

Spots are caused by hard water, or minerals that remain after the water has evaporated. Spots can be eliminated through use of a dishwasher rinse agent.

Should I buy a water softener?

The hardness of water varies with the water's source. The choice to buy a softener is an aesthetic one, since hard water is not harmful to health. However, water softeners typically increase the sodium content of the water, a factor that should be considered by people on low-sodium diets.

Should I buy a home filtration unit?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, home treatment units are rarely necessary for health reasons. Most often, water treatment units are used to remove substances that affect the aesthetic qualities of the water. If you do choose to install a home treatment unit, it is important to follow the manufacture's maintenance instructions, because improperly maintained units can actually cause water quality problems.

What causes odor in the hot water?

The most common cause of odor in hot water is the water heater. If your cold water smells fine, check your water heater to ensure that the temperature setting is correct. Water heaters also need to be maintained (see manufacturer’s instructions). Please contact us if the odor persists or if it is present in both the hot and cold water.

What causes some water to be discolored?

Color in water is usually caused by naturally occurring organic matter, minerals, or mineral build-up in the pipes. We flush our water system regularly to clean mineral build-up and other sediment from the pipes. If you receive discolored water, you should let your faucets run until the water is clear. Such substances typically do not pose a health hazard; however, we ask that you please report any instances of discolored water so that we may investigate.

Is bottled water higher quality than tap water?

Tap water providers and bottled water providers must meet the same water quality standards. In fact, tap water providers are required to conduct more frequent water quality testing and reporting than bottled water providers. Some consumers prefer the taste of bottled water, and some choose bottled water because they have special health needs. But tap water is a much better deal at costs of 1,000 times less than bottled water.

Why do our employees open fire hydrants?

We conduct regular water system flushing to remove any mineral build-up and sediment from the pipes and also to ensure that water circulates adequately throughout the system. Fire hydrants may also be opened to conduct fire-flow capability tests.

Why does water need to be disinfected?

Disinfectants are required because they prevent the spread of germs that cause diseases. Years ago, before disinfectants were used for drinking water, diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery were common. Drinking water disinfection has vastly improved the quality and safety of drinking water.

Why does my water have a chlorine taste (or smell)?

We disinfect your water to ensure that it is free of harmful bacteria. To reduce any chlorine taste or smell, try refrigerating your water before drinking.

Why is there dirt or sand in my water?

Dirt or sand can occur naturally in groundwater or as a result of a water line repair. We try to reduce the instances of dirt or sand in the water through regular flushing, which improves water quality by increasing the circulation of water in the pipes and removing most of the sediment from the water.

Why does the taste of my water change throughout the year?

Water sources change at certain times of the year due to the availability of supplies. Surface water, or water that comes from sources like rivers and lakes, tends to taste slightly different than water pumped from underground aquifers.