Town Square

Three wealthy water districts consume the lion's share of local water

Original post made on Aug 10, 2021

The biggest sip of the straw from the Bay Area's water supply comes from people in three districts: They consume nearly three to four times the amount as residents in 23 other municipalities and districts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, August 7, 2021, 9:17 AM


Posted by tecsi
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 10, 2021 at 7:19 pm

tecsi is a registered user.

Consider the headline: “Three wealthy water districts consume the lion’s share of local water.” Actually, no. Those three communities have about 25K total population. Their two counties have 2.7 million people. The difference between those communities using 3.5x more water than average, per capita, adds a couple percent to the total water use. That’s not the lion’s share, and it pales in comparison to adding 25% to the population, which is what Gavin Newsom’s 3.5 million new homes by 2025 would have done.

It’s possible to have a reasonable debate over how much water usage is reasonable for someone with a large yard. But that doesn’t change the larger water picture, and the impact that more housing will have.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2021 at 6:28 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

This article's headline buys into a narrative being pushed elsewhere and takes it to an extreme. Indeed these 3 water districts are responsible for tiny fraction of the overall use between two counties, not the lion's share. But the comparisons are nearly meaningless. Purissima Hills used 1.75 mgd year before last. Stanford University used 2.5 mgd, but the reason Stanford was that low is because RECLAIMED water from secondary sewage isn't counted. It's used for irrigation, which is the bulk of the usage for Los Altos Hills and most places. If it WERE true that the lion's share were being used, then an extension to provide secondary sewage water reclaimed to LAH would be in order! But it's not. The stats make it look like Stanford is low, but that's based on claiming 32,000 residents, most of whom are residential students in dorms. They aren't even there the full year. So the per resident number is really meaningless for Stanford.

Compare San Mateo to Santa Clara County. Both used about 75 mgd in the BAWSCA report. But the population served is very different. BAWSCA members total 584,000 residents in Santa Clara County, far less than the county as a whole. San Mateo BAWSCA members' residents seem to equal that entire county, around 750,0000. SO it would appear that San Mateo County uses 20% less water per resident than Santa Clara County residents in the report. That extra 15 mgd in Santa Clara County seems more meaningful than the usage by the 3 water districts singled out.

Indeed, it's worth considering that the secondary sewage water for irrigation is produced by ALL the residents but it is used only by a couple of cities--Palo Alto and Mountain View, who happen to be near the bay and the treatment plant, plus Stanford University. This extra irrigation water source ALONE is enough to account for the difference in usage per capita compared to other cities.

Posted by coette schmidt
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2021 at 5:39 pm

coette schmidt is a registered user.

Wonderful article on water usage! Thanks.