Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California Santa Barbara, California

Water Quality in Santa Barbara, California

Watershed: Mission Creek – Frontal Santa Barbara Channel

What is the water quality like in Santa Barbara, CA?

Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Santa Barbara water.

What’s in Santa Barbara water?

Here are the top 7 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:

  1. Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
  2. Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
  3. Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
  4. Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
  5. Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
  6. Radon – Potential effect: Cancer
  7. Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer

These are seven of the 29 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (

17 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.

See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.

Where does Santa Barbara’s water come from?

Santa Barbara’s water comes from the Mission Creek – Frontal Santa Barbara Channel watershed.

19 of the 23 water sources in the Mission Creek – Frontal Santa Barbara Channel watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:

  • Arroyo Burro Creek
  • Goleta Slough/Estuary
  • Mission Creek
  • Mission Creek Lagoon
  • Montecito Creek
  • Old Mission Creek
  • 8 segments of the Pacific Ocean at these beaches:
    • Arroyo Burro Beach
    • Butterfly Beach – 1 segment
    • East Beach – 1 segment
    • Goleta Beach
    • Hammonds Beach
    • Hope Ranch Beach
    • Leadbetter Beach
  • Pacific Ocean at Point Santa Barbara
  • Rattlesnake Creek
  • Romero Creek
  • San Ysidro Creek
  • Santa Barbara Harbor
  • Sycamore Creek

Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. The Pacific Ocean is in Good condition in these beach areas:

  • Butterfly Beach – 1 segment
  • East Beach – 1 segment
  • Sands Beach – Coal Oil Point
  • Summerland Beach

Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:

  1. Drinking Water
  2. Aquatic Life
  3. Fish and Shellfish Consumption
  4. Recreation

Learn more from How’s My Waterway

See below for what you can do to improve Santa Barbara’s water.

Conclusion – What Can You Do?

Information about water quality can be surprising.

But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.

In Your Household:

  • Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 21 of the 29 contaminants in your drinking water. (Berkey Light and Travel Berkey are the only types available in California.)
    • Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Santa Barbara water.
    • Brita can filter 14 (and Lead depending on the filter).
    • Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
  • To filter out 26 of the 29 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.

*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.

In Your Community:

Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.

Go to: to find contact information for your local officials.

Water Quality in Other California Cities

California Water Quality Page

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