- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - The Santa Barbara City Council has voted to move forward with the desalination plant, agreeing to spend $3.7 million in the design phase.

KEYT-TV reports (https://bit.ly/1JTaUjX ) that the council voted Tuesday to restart the plant, which will cost about $55 million, and more than $4 million to operate once it is running.

Santa Barbara Water Resources Manage Joshua Haggmark says the high price is a necessary loss. He says if the drought and current patterns of water use continue there will not be enough water to meet the community’s needs.

The city estimated last May that it will need $20 million in technological upgrades, a cost likely to be borne by ratepayers.

If the drought does end, the City of Santa Barbara can back out of the contract.

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Information from: KEYT-TV, https://www.keyt.com/

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