Drought Shaming – In California, Who’s Saving and Who’s Wasting Our Water.
TOP 10 Water Savers and Wasters in California
The State of Water Conservation in California
A widely circulated State Water Resource Control Board report released August 27th sets forth a positive story of California’s 31% reduction in water usage for the months of June and July over the 2014 summer months. That’s good news. Californians used 31% less water in July 2015 than July 2014. But what about the bigger picture. What about our individual cities compliance with their mandate reduction numbers. Are we riding the backs of the overachievers or are we really, wholly and individually hitting our numbers. The answer: 28% of the 403 reporting cities are out of compliance – by as much as 27%
The Best and the Worst
As pointed out in many of the articles that referenced this SWRCB report, the City of Livingston appears to be the biggest water waster. Livingston isn’t the worst by our account but Livingston does illuminate the issue. They missed their mandate by almost 27%. But what this really means is that Livingston only reduced water consumption by 5%. They were required to hit 32%. Livingston has a lot of company with California cities that slide below the mandate. 114 cities missed the state mandate. 114 underachievers. For example, the cities of Hanford, Pinon Hills, and Indian Wells missed compliance by 16%. The expansive lawns of Beverly Hills soak up 10% more than the mandate allows. Upland guzzles 5% more than it’s allowed to. There are 21 cities that exceed the water use mandate by more than 10%, up to 26%. 31 cities exceed the use mandate in the 5% to 10% range and 60 cities that exceed the mandate in the 1% to 5% range. There are 403 cities in this report so clearly the majority are hitting their numbers. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. These numbers tell us that a city has missed or surpassed the mandate but not how much the city has reduced consumption. The mandate varies statewide. In Arcata the usage mandate is a barely noticeable 4% usage reduction and Arcata misses it by 3%. Palos Verde also misses its mark by 3%. But Palos Verdes has to hit the state high 36% reduction mandate. Obviously Palos Verdes is expected to do more than Arcata and is in fact doing more. Palos Verde may miss its mark by 3% but it has cut its use by 33%. In contrast, Arcata needed to hit 4% but has only cut consumption by 1%. So being 3% over or under the mandate doesn't speak to our issue: How much has a city reduced consumption regardless of the state imposed mandate? Because some of our cities are real heroes and deserve recognition.
The Numbers That Matter
In the SWRCB report the city of Livingston CA gets burned with an ugly 26.8% usage over the mandated reduction. But what this really means is that Livingston only reduced their water consumption by a paltry 5%. In contrast, the Bella Vista Water District in Redding CA cut their water consumption a Titanic 55%. In Southern California the Golden State Water District/Claremont CA has cut consumption by 45%, their mandate was 32%, making Claremont tops in SoCal water conservation efforts. So who are the best and worst at water conservation in California? Here is our non-scientific look at the best and worst in California
TOP 10 BEST WATER SAVER CITIES
Here’s our TOP 10 list of water stingy cities and districts statewide based on the reduction in total water usage.
1. Bella Vista Water District – Redding , CA – Reduced water consumption by a huge 55% and surpassed their mandate by 19.1% Our Golden Bucket Award Winner
2. Livermore, CA - Reduced water consumption by a 47% and surpassed their mandate by 23.5%
3. Pleasanton, CA - Reduced water consumption by a 47% and surpassed their mandate by 23.2%
4. Paradise Irrigation District – Paradise, CA - Reduced water consumption by a 47% and surpassed their mandate by 10.6%
5. Menlo Park, CA - Reduced water consumption by a 46% and surpassed their mandate by 30.5%. Menlo Park is our Top Overachiever.
6. Golden State Water - Claremont, CA - Reduced water consumption by a 45% and surpassed their mandate by 13.3%. Best in SoCal!
7. Serrano Water District – Villa Park, CA - Reduced water consumption by a 45% and surpassed their mandate by 9.4%
8. Del Oro Water Company- Magalia, CA - Reduced water consumption by a 44% and surpassed their mandate by 20.5%
9. Brentwood CA - Reduced water consumption by a 44% and surpassed their mandate by 11.8%
10. California Water Service Antelope Valley – Reduced water consumption by 44% and surpassed the mandate by 8%
Bella Vista/Redding wins by a wide margin with a 55% reduction in water use. This wins them the prestigious “Golden Bucket” Water Conservation Award for 2015.
TOP 10 WATER WASTER CITIES
And the TOP TEN underachievers, the ones that just can’t let go of their garden hoses and back yard putting greens are:
1. Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Serving Eureka, Arcata and Blue Lake – This is the only district in California reporting a negative reduction number. They used 8.2% more water resulting in a 12.2% reduction deficit. They only need to hit 4% Cost: 4.5M gallons of water.
2. California Water Service District Rancho Dominguez - Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Carson, and portions of Compton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Torrance, and the unincorporated community of Harbor City – Only Reduced water consumption by an embarrassing 4.1% and missed their mandate by 11.9% Whatup South Bay? Cost: 222,893,255 gallons down the drain. Because of the sheer volume of waste our “My Buckets Got a Hole in It” Award Winner.
3. Arcata .CA – Arcata is back again with the city water company. Reduced water consumption by a miniscule 0.8% and missed their mandate by 3.2% Ouch! They were only asked to hit 4%. 3.7M gallons wasted.
4. Livingston, CA - Reduced water consumption by a tiny 5% and missed their mandate by a league leading 26.8% Ouch! Menlo Park overachieved by more. 122M gallons flushed.
5. Adelanto, CA - Reduced water consumption by 10% and missed their mandate by by 10%. 26M gallons out to sea.
6. Hanford, CA – Cut consumption by 12% but needed to hit 28%. Swing and a miss. Cost? A big 157.7M gallons of aqua.
7. Blythe, CA - Cut consumption by 16% but needed to hit 32%. Give up those lawns, Blythe. Cost: 32.7M gallons.
8. Phelan Pinon Hills – Phelan, CA - Cut consumption by 16% but needed to hit 32%. Cost: 30.4M gallons.
9. Sanger, CA - Cut consumption by 17% but needed to hit 28%. Cost 40.9M gallons.
10. Indian Wells Valley Water District – Cut consumption by 21% but needed 36% to reach mandate. A big 15% miss. Cost: 70M gallons
It would seem that the desert communities are having a harder time hitting the mandate numbers. Understandable. But for sheer volume alone, our #1 underachiever is CalWater’s Rancho Dominguez operation in Southern California. They only had to hit a 16% mandate and they couldn’t hit 5%. So CalWater Rancho Dominguez gets our dreaded “My Buckets Got a Hole in It” Water Waster Award for 2015. 222.8M gallons of water wasted.
The truth is, every city and district in the SWRCB report has cut water consumption and that a good thing. In gallons of water the missed mandates in this report amount 3B gallons of water: that’s 3,502,649,954 gallons. There are 114 underachievers out there and it's time they get on board. We all pray for a wet winter but water conservation is still king in California.
Editor’s Note: Cities can be served by both local water companies and larger water districts and the results can vary widely,
©Indian Hill Media Inc. 2015.