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City Declares End to Stage Three Drought Emergency, Adopts Stage One Water Supply Condition

Surface water supply conditions have improved; community-wide conservation still needed.

After a historic seven-year drought period, this winter brought above-average rainfall that has improved water supply conditions, and the City’s water supply forecasts show sufficient supply to meet demands through 2021. While water supplies have improved, conservation remains important to fully recover from the cumulative impacts of the drought, and to preserve water supplies for future dry years.

On April 9, 2019, City Council rescinded the Stage Three Drought Emergency and adopted a Stage One Water Supply Condition. With this action, prior drought water use regulations in effect under the Stage Three emergency are lifted; however, the City will continue to enforce its longstanding regulation prohibiting irrigation runoff and failure to repair leaks. Continuing conservation by the community to reduce water use is encouraged. The City’s twelve-month running average water conservation is 30 percent, compared to 2013 water demands. The City is grateful to our customers for making conservation a way of life, which has been vital during the historic drought and will continue to be essential going forward.

The cumulative effect of the seven-year drought on the City’s water supplies has been extreme, and it will take several years for some water sources to recover. Below is a brief status update on the City’s water supplies:

  • Lake Cachuma: The federally-owned reservoir is currently 80% full, but it is a shared resource with stored water belonging to other agencies, including downstream water rights.
  • Gibraltar Reservoir: This smaller reservoir is owned by the City and is currently full. Use of water from the reservoir has been limited due to water quality concerns as a result of the Thomas Fire.
  • Groundwater: The City relies on groundwater during droughts when surface water supplies are limited. In 2016, the City’s groundwater basins reached historically low levels similar to 1992 (the last major drought). The City has been resting the groundwater basins to let them recover; however, it could take 5-10 years before the basins are completely replenished.
  • State Water: The 2019 allocation from the State is currently 70% of the maximum annual amount. During the drought, the City contracted for supplemental water exchanges, via the State Water Project, from other water agencies outside the area. These exchanges were necessary to maintain State Water deliveries during the drought, but the agreements require that some water be returned over a 10-year period. The City’s current water debt is equivalent to one-third of the City’s annual water demands, and the City plans to return the water in the next few years.
  • Desalination: The City’s desalination plant has been operating since summer 2017, providing nearly one-third of the City’s current water demands. The desalination plant has played a key role in improving reliability and resiliency during the drought, and it will continue to play this role by allowing us to rest our groundwater basins and recover from the drought.
  • Recycled Water: The City’s recycled water plant has been meeting the majority of recycled water customer demands since construction upgrades completed in November 2015.
    The City is well positioned to accelerate the recovery process with the City’s desalination plant in operation and continued conservation efforts from our community. The City is also initiating a pilot study for potential artificial recharge of treated water into the City’s groundwater basins to help recover the water levels.

Regarding water rates, the City experienced significant increases in costs during the drought to provide reliable water sources and ensure public health and safety needs were met. The water rate study conducted in 2017, which informed water rates for Aug 2017–June 2020, assumed that the drought would come to an end within that period. Therefore, the current rates, and the rates that will become effective this July, already reflect a gradual recovery from the drought costs. While the majority of costs to operate and maintain the overall water system are fixed costs, the City’s water rates are structured to encourage conservation, and reduced water usage results in a lower water bill. The City will be starting a new rate study in summer 2019 to reassess water rates.

For more information on water supplies, drought, and conservation, please visit www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/Water.

*The above article was copied from a recent City of Santa Barbara, Water Resources Division press release, dated May 22, 2019.

LYNX Featured In New AppFolio Video

Just short of two-years ago, LYNX made the switch to AppFolio Property Management software and has never looked back. AppFolio has been an invaluable tool in helping us manage our properties, communicate with our tenants and report financials and activity to property owners.

We were delighted when AppFolio invited us to take part in their most recent advertising campaign. Check out the video below and let us know what you think!

LYNX Management, Inc.

Brace Yourself, Winter is Coming…

Summer weather will soon be over and colder, winter weather setting in.

While we are blessed with almost year-round sunshine and temperatures consistently in the mid-seventies in Southern California, believe it or not, we do still experience our own winter weather and seasonal changes worth being prepared for. These changes might not be as dramatic as the ones our friends on the East-Coast experience, but it is important to know what to expect. Below is LYNX’s top five things to do to prepare for this winter in Southern California:

  1. Heating Systems – Fortunately our warm climate makes our dependence on these minimal, which often results in dust and debris accumulating inside the unit over the warmer months of the year. Unfortunately this can cause an unpleasant burning smell when you fire it up for the first time in months, or, in rare cases, cause a unit to malfunction. We recommend that you clear your unit of dust and debris and give it a test. If you aren’t convinced it’s working as it should, give us a shout and we’ll have someone out to take a look for you.
  2. Outdoor Lighting and Timers – This time of year sees the sun set much earlier in the evening and it will only get darker once the clocks go back an hour on November 6th. Make sure you have sufficient outdoor lighting provisions for your staff and customers. If you are concerned about your lighting provisions, need outdoor light-bulbs replacing or timers re-set, please reach out to your LYNX property manager.
  3. Wind and Rain – Cooler temperatures and darker evenings aside, winter in Southern California can bring in strong winds and heavy rain to the region. If you are concerned about the condition of your roof or skylight and susceptibility to leaks, please let us know and we’d love to evaluate this for you. Rain and windy conditions can also create slippery surfaces and potential for falling debris – make sure you have adequate non-slip surfaces on your sales floors and entryways and ensure any fallen palm branches aren’t causing any obstructions to you, your staff or your customers.
  4. Building Repairs and Maintenance – Help us help you by reporting maintenance requests to us through your tenant portal, no matter how small. What may seem small now can easily manifest itself into something far more serious once winter sets in.
  5. Flooding – Due to the drought California is currently experiencing, storm-water does not soak into the ground in the way it once did, rather running across the surface until it converges and settles at a low point in the land – for the Santa Barbara area this is typically the ocean. During last winter’s rainstorms, water would quickly converge in the downtown area of Santa Barbara and flooded numerous businesses. We can help identify areas of risk for you but it may be a good idea to be prepared by purchasing some sandbags.

While we hope you have a great winter and upcoming holiday season, we advise you take a few minutes to review our tips above and contact us if you have any areas of concern. Know that we are here for you!

LYNX Management, Inc.

Floods, Fires and Earthquakes

Are You Prepared for an Emergency?

Little over a year has passed since an oil spill devastated many parts of the Refugio and Gaviota coastline, just west of Santa Barbara. A year on, the very same area faced yet another disaster entirely different from the preceding year, but equally as terrifying. The Sherpa Fire, as it became known, ended up devastating over 8,000 acres of land west of Goleta, and came as a haunting reminder of the devastation caused by the Tea Fire and the Jesusita Fire in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

These recent events got us thinking; how would your business fare in the event of a natural disaster in Santa Barbara? The reality is that the area could be vulnerable to a variety of hazards, such as wildfires, coastal floods, flash floods and landslides, earthquakes and oil spills. Some of these could impact your personal property and belongings, yet others could reduce the flow of tourists, cruise ships and seasonal visitors to the area along with business partners and clients commuting from out of town.

We put our heads together and came up with a list of our top five things you can do to be prepared in the event of an emergency. If you don’t already have some of these tips in place, we strongly recommend you implement them for your business.

Review Your Insurance Coverage – Damage to your contents and trade fixtures are not covered under the landlord’s insurance policy. Your lease specifies the types of insurance and the minimum coverage amounts which you, as lessee, are required to carry. If you have questions about whether or not you are in compliance with your lease requirements, or whether the insurance you currently have is adequate for your needs, contact your insurance broker and ask them to review your lease requirements and your coverage amounts. Make sure you understand what exclusions apply (for example, flood and earthquake coverage are often excluded and require separate insurance policies).

Prepare for Power Outages – Fires, floods and earthquakes all pose a threat to the Santa Barbara area losing power for long periods of time. It is important that you review your emergency systems/processes in place for your business, such as a computer battery back-up for times when power is not available to your premises. Alternative power solutions, such as back-up generators, may also be a good solution for some tenants. Outage information is often updated directly by Southern California Edison on their website.

Review Emergency Procedures With Your Staff – Each tenant will have different needs and concerns when an emergency occurs. Discussing these emergency procedures ahead of time with your employees is recommended.

Get to Know Your Property Manager – In the wake of an emergency, a call to LYNX might be the first you need to make, especially if there is damage to the building or your personal property. Make sure you know who you need to contact and how to get hold of them. Make sure we also have your most up-to-date contact information too and let us know of any personnel changes within your business that we need to know of.

Report Damage and Request Maintenance – We try our best to inspect our properties on a routine basis, but please do not assume we catch everything. Let us know of any maintenance needs you may have by submitting a maintenance request through your tenant portal. If you have not set-up your tenant portal, you can request an activation link by contacting accounting@lynxproperty.com

LYNX Management, Inc.

Graffiti, Vandalism and the Negative Impacts of Transients

FullSizeRenderSummer is upon us, and the kids will soon be out of school. Along with increased numbers of tourists, the summer months always bring an increase in transients, vandalism and gang related tagging. Because of this, we strongly suggest you do the following:

Graffiti Film – Since most tenants are responsible for maintaining their storefront or office window glass, install graffiti film on your ground level windows. It’s cheap compared with the cost of replacing etched glass. If your glass is already etched, replace it. But make sure to have graffiti film applied the same day. This simple preventative step has saved many of our tenants thousands of dollars.

Act Quickly – Speed is the key, keep a can of Goof-Off or Goo-Gone handy, and use it immediately (after you snap a picture) when graffiti is found. Leaving graffiti up gives the vandals time to admire their work. It’s also an invitation to other graffiti vandals to add their tags to the same location. If someone has been sleeping or loitering around, and is leaving you messes to clean up, it’s important to act quickly. Get the police and LYNX involved.

Report – Always report vandalism and graffiti. A documented incident of vandalism or graffiti can add three months of community service or prison per incident onto a felon’s sentence. The reports you make, also help inform the City’s decision makers about priorities in our downtown.

If the crime is in process, call 911.

Public Right Of Way – If the vandalism, graffiti or transient related problem is in the public right of way, click here to report it to the graffiti hot line, or click here to file an online police report.

Private Property – If the graffiti or vandalism occurred on your building or elsewhere on the premises, click here to file an online police report.

Report to LYNX – Take a picture with your phone and let LYNX know what you found, and what you have done to report or mitigate the issue. Click here to log-in to your tenant portal to get us up to speed on the incident and to request maintenance if needed.

As your management company, we want to step in as quickly as possible and help make sure these issues are addressed. Help us help you by keeping a watchful eye for signs of trouble and let us know as soon as possible if you see anything concerning. Know that we are here for you.

LYNX Management, Inc.