Cristal's Blog


April 29, 2022

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The California Drought Continues. Let’s Conserve This Precious Resource

Santa Barbara water conservation in action at tis home with drought resistant landscaping

As the California drought continues, WaterWise in Santa Barbara County has stepped up its efforts to promote Santa Barbara water conservation and awareness. That’s good news since Santa Barbara County has been one of 50 counties in the Golden State in a drought emergency since July 8, 2021. And this severe water shortage affects 100% of the population here—that’s a total of 423,895 people in Santa Barbara County alone. But if we all step up and conserve this precious natural resource, like the owners of my Distinctive Toro Canyon Home listing pictured above did, we can make a huge difference.

And step up we should since experts warn that our warming climate coupled with more intense El Niño and La Niña events could cause twice as many droughts and three times as many floods in California in the coming years.

Water supply across Santa Barbara County

County residents obtain their water from several sources: groundwater withdrawal, storm runoff collected in local reservoirs, the State Water Project, desalination, and recycled water. If we all did our part by voluntarily reducing our water consumption by just 15%, we could save more than 850,000 gallons of water over the next year; enough to supply 1.7 million households for an entire year. The good news is that saving water doesn't have to be a major headache. There are some simple things we all can do to make a difference.

A room in a luxury home with a table and chairs surrounded by windows that show the interesting landscaping

Here are 7 ways to ensure Santa Barbara water conservation every day:

  • Landscape with Drought Resistant Plants
    Adding water-wise, California-native drought-resistant plants in your landscaping will not only conserve water, but, as you can see, will also add major curb appeal. The dramatic landscaping in the photos is a showcase of cacti, and other succulents as well as drought-tolerant flora. Water-wise plants and shade trees use little, or no water once established. Thirsty plants such as lawn and container plants should be a Santa Barbara homeowner’s lowest priority.

  • Are Your Sprinklers Working Properly?
    When your sprinkler heads don’t work properly, you could be throwing water down the drain. Sprinklers can be broken or damaged easily, so have them checked periodically. Also, never, never overwater or water the sidewalk or driveway and only turn on your sprinklers in the early morning hours or at night. Consider adding a drip irrigation system, which works better than sprinklers as it sends targeted amounts of water exactly where you want it.

  • Turn Your Faucet Off!
    You probably don’t realize that an average of four gallons of water is wasted every time you leave your faucet running. Do you really need to leave the water on while you brush your teeth? Imagine all the water you’ll save if your entire family turns off the water while brushing.

  • Check for Leaky Toilets
    Even a slow drip can add up to gallons faster than you might realize. To diagnose a silent toilet leak, place food coloring in your toilet tank and wait to see if the color makes it into the bowl. If you see color seeping in, it’s time for a fix.

  • Time Your Shower
    Set a 10-minute timer whenever you take a shower. Even cutting back a couple of times a week from long showers can make a difference. By shaving off just two minutes, you’ll save 1,750 gallons of water in a year!

  • Wash Your Dishes in the Dishwasher
    Doing a full load in your machine is far more efficient than washing the same number of dishes by hand. This is especially true if you have an Energy Star dishwasher, which requires an average of four gallons of water per load, compared with the 24 gallons it takes to do them in the sink. Using one will save you 5,000 gallons of water, $40 in utility costs, and 230 hours of your time each year.

  • Use the Car Wash
    If you think you’re saving water by washing your car by hand, you’re not. In fact, washing your car at home uses two and a half times more water than the car wash!

    A beautiful landscaped yard with a breathtaking view
  • Use Rubber or No Mulch
    As you can see by the image above, these homeowners don’t need to add mulch to their landscaping. But if you must, rubber is a step up from the bark-like texture you’re probably used to seeing. Made from 100% recycled tires, rubber mulch is suitable to use on most landscapes. It has several benefits: a safe play surface for children, prevents weeds, does not attract insects, and water and air can easily flow through it.

To stay informed about Santa Barbara water conservation and the California drought, refer to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country.

Meantime, if you live in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, please remember, the California drought is not over! If you are looking to move to a new property where you can continue to practice ways to conserve water, please call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I’ll happily add your listing to my portfolio of fine homes in the area and find your new dream home for your family. No matter where you live in the Golden State, just remember to take 10-minute showers!

Other Resources:

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch