SLO water use increased at highest rate in state

October 10, 2014

water2Water usage in the city of San Luis Obispo increased at a higher rate in August than it did in any other California city, a state report shows. [KSBY]

Statewide, water usage decreased by 11.5 percent from July to August. But, water use in San Luis Obispo increased by 26 percent in August.

Excluding Cal Poly, which was included in the calculation, San Luis Obispo’s water usage increased by 19 percent. That rate would still have qualified as the highest increase in the state.

The next highest jump was Compton at 10 percent.

San Luis Obispo water manager Wade Horton said the city’s increase is due to tourism.

“We had a good tourist month in August, and I anticipate that we will find hotels were occupied,” Horton said. “San Luis Obispo has embraced that conservation mentality for over 20 years now.”

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Lot of mud slinging going on here and don’t know what we can do with it except made some mud pies.

The truth is for every acre-foot of real water in the Central Valley watershed, 8.4 acre-feet of water on paper has been promised by the state where only 1 acre-foot may actually be diverted, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. And this slight of hand is called paper water.

Then, aside from all the politics of water NASA reported March 14, 2015, that there is one year of stored water left in California.

Stored water is all the actual water in the reservoirs and rivers, groundwater, watershed, aquifers, snow packs. That’s water for a rainy day but since it hasn’t rained for 4 years and the Gov. has declared a drought emergency, the farmers and oil drillers are using that water now. One user is for essential use and the other user is for non-essential use.

Essential water use is water for the protection of the public, safety, health and well being.

Non-essential water use is for landscape, filling swimming pools, fountains, pond, washing down your car or driveway, new construction, oil extraction, you get the idea.

Many communities across the State have issued restrictions and moratoriums on non-essential water use because this is, after all an EMERGENCY.

Define emergency: an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for IMMEDIATE ACTION.

Santa Barbara oil spill: First responders are on the scene within hours. Gov. issues state of emergency.

Water is precious and scarce at this point, 10 months of stored water is left. That’s just a fact. Like it or not. When the water is gone the party is over and all the rigmarole about insurance and students, or conservation of 10%, 20%, 30% in Compton or Timbuktu is irrelevant.

It may all be true but still irrelevant to the fact that saving 20% of nothing or trying to buy something that doesn’t exist is what we are looking at in 10 months.

Shouldn’t we be taking some emergency first steps now to conserve what little water we have left before there is nothing to talk about.

While each community and municipality is struggling with how to best protect the public’s health and safety with adequate water to sustain life our own County governing board is dancing the jig and giving away water like there was no tomorrow at least when it comes to handing 354,600,000 gallons of fresh water from our aquifer over to non-essential water use for oil drilling in the unincorporated areas of the county.

With the application to expand the Arroyo Grande Oil fields to 450 wells that would increase non essential water use for oil drilling to 1.5 billion gallons.

The Board of Supervisors is responsible for implementing Governor Brown’s Emergency drought mandate. They are NOT doing that.

We have a choice. Continue to let them do nothing in a drought emergency and bitch about it or let them know this is NOT acceptable and to implement an EMERGENCY MORATORIUM ON NON-ESSENTIAL STORED WATER USE FOR OIL DRILLING.


We should rip up the lawns and plant drought tolerant bushes and shrubs. Many years ago, the city of Phoenix banned new lawns and required the planting of native species of plants in all new developments. They helped pay for people to remove exiting lawns with tax incentives. Like S.L.O., they made it mandatory to install low flow toilets and faucets. Water use was reduced considerably.

Obviously no scientists out there if you think one month’s data is a trend.

Obviously the fools conducting and reporting on this survey didn’t take into account one simple fact. the population SLO increases by around 25-30% in August with the return of the students. For 3-4 days in august all of the income freshman, 5,000 or so bring an additional 10,000 family members with them

No wonder it’s been so easy to convince the masses of a made up climate scam and that Barack Hussein Obama (mmm, mmm, mmm) was the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Think critically people.

Real scientist right here– have worked for the largest republican firms in environmental science industry and for a Fortune 50 regarding sustainability. Your commentary is unnecessary regarding the President, and down right ugly as well as your disregard of climate science. Sorry I discount those using vitriolic flamboyance to make their point. Shameful.

Yes, I know 99.99% of all scientists competing for government grants agree on global warming. As for the down right ugly comments on the president, I didn’t comment on that fool only those who bought into his rhetoric.

Do you remember, the planet will heal, the oceans recede, and the lion will lay down with the lamb if he was elected? How is that working out?

Achilles you are moronic. As far as my background Fortune50 yah the kind of folks that put you through your life with jobs, goods, fuel, food. Big biz considers climate and water risk one of the top five supply chain risks right now. Effecting price and qualities of products.

Second, if you take a look at state wide data (if you know how to do that and have some level of education) during the same measurement period of water usage other municipalities with university sizes and population as CalPoly water consumption went down. I believe SantaCruz in fact ranked 5th overall in State muni savings so your genius statement and rhetorical question about “what happens in August?” Makes little sense when explaining SLOs unacceptable water usage increase and continuing demand equation.

You blow hot air. I am done with you. Unacceptable.


Population Santa Cruz 62k (2013)

Population SLO 45k )2012

Population Cal Poly 19k

Population UCSc 17 k

As a data frame these comparables work. Average usage of SLO resident 107 gallons per day. Average usage of Santa Cruz resident 138 gallons per day. Close enough this data frame is acceptable and works scientifically.

Water usage increase in SLO 19%.

Santa Cruz residents conserved far more than the state average as Santa Cruzans cut water use by 28 percent.

Wow. Just make things up. First of all, the influx of poly students happens in September, not August. Second, how in the world does every kid bring two family members with her? Are saying Mommy and daddy come along and live here side by side with the little ones? If only that were so — the kids’ behavior might be a lot different! Third, your math is odd: If population goes up by 25% because 15000 kids plus “family members” arrive, you’re suggesting the city’s population is 60,000, which is a fact the Census missed. Shouldn’t call others fools if your own stuff is so foolish.

I said parents bring freshman and stay in town for 2 or 3 days. That’s why the frat boys have those signs on their lawn that say drop off your daughters here.

Reada a little more closely next time, genius.

Slow population 45k. Calpoly enrollment 19k. I was being conservative because I figure some live here year round.

Oh NO! don’t tell those tourists we do not have any water! Might hurt their little feelings to not run the showers endlessly! Until everyone conserves everywhere we will run out of water, but the tourist businesses don’t give a dang.

We are supposed to recycle the waste water so taking long showers shouldn’t matter. Tear out the lawns if we are to save water.

Tourism?! My eye! We know it was Gibson who snuck up to north county and opened up the spigots.

What a farce blaming the water-use bump on tourism. Why not San Diego then?! Why not Santa Barbara? Why not Monterey? Carmel? Mendocino? Why are they not also using far more water than they should be? Well, they sure aren’t going to blame those who bring money to their towns. I do know what those towns’ representatives flaunt far more than the SLO County’s reps. Intelligence.

Why the hell would you blame a significant portion of your local economy’s life blood–tourism–for your own water woes. Amazingly shortsighted. Christ–this county is really being led by the lowest common denominator. When this county is led around by the nose by the likes of Gibson and Hill, asinine follows asinine.

Why are city people such liars?

SLO’s tourism increased by enough to account for a 19% increase in water usage? Total baloney. Try to do the math to make that one work.

The truth is the city has bought too much water, has to pay for it, and so encourages people to use as much as they’re willing to pay for. Any pretext of “conservation” went away years ago.

Now here’s the catch: if you own a house you pay a lot more for your water than a motel. So we, the ratepayers and taxpayers, get to subsidize tourism.

Very cool deal the city and its Chamber buddies have worked on us. When do we wake up and say enough?

PLUS, if you do conserve, as we have seen, the rates INCREASE to cover their “fixed expenses” just like the trash company.

I guess that you believe that your job doesn’t depend on tourism. The entire economy of S.L.O. County depends on tourism. Charging tourists more doesn’t help because they just spend less money elsewhere. The hotels have had low flow shower heads and toilets for a long time and tourists won’t use less water if you bill the hotel more. Historically, these droughts can last up to 6 years. The City of S.L.O. having a three year reserve doesn’t seem excessive.

It’s not fair to compare SLO to Compton. Compton has a reputation for having a bunch of homeless and Democrats.

You folks do realize that if residents use less water they will be hit with a rate increase to cover the fixed costs associated with delivery (Nacimiento project being a significant driver of costs). Residents have been paying “insurance” in the form reclamation projects, Nacimiento, and lowered water use do to a higher rate structure for a long time. That “insurance” is now paying off. There is no need to reduce consumption just for the pleasure of feeling the pain of other communities.


Let me guess you work for the City of SLO Utilities Dept. Apparently, you are confused “insurance” is a policy to protect one financially against unforeseen circumstances. Now, infrastructure investment is not “insurance” as you express.

Here is a simple fact: Water usage in SLO goes up because the idiots running the conservation program can care less about innovative solutions to water resource management.

The City is about maintaining revenue flow and conservation is contradictory to revenue flow. So much for being a green community.


You’re not good at guessing. It’s a simple as this, if SLO uses less water rates have to rise to cover the Nacimiento project and other costs which are not associated with usage. The City does not currently, or in the foreseeable future, have a shortage of water. This is due in part to residents paying for Nacimiento, treated waste water for irrigation, and lower per capita usage do in part because of high rates. That’s the “insurance” part. We are paying high rates to insure the community has enough water to get us through a drought. We have, or had, more water than was needed for build out. That is what I mean by “insurance”.

In fact that’s how Nacimiento was sold to us — for “unforseen circumstances,” not because of need. That’s a pretty good definition of “insurance.”

Bob, Bob Bob. So in retirement you take stand in the dark corners and spew back at your former employer.

Brett, then why is your IP address linked to the City of SLO, if you don’t work there. Now that would be some trick if you posted via someone else’s IP address.

Time to turn back salaries at SLO. These people are over paid and under worked. They are the highest paid government employees in the County. In fact, their water department rates are the highest in the state – why? SLO continuously gets fined, negotiates a deal wherein the City agrees to upgrade its systems to avoid future violations. The last one cost the City nearly $32 million dollars, but everyone bought off on it thinking it was a State mandate – just a requirement to do versus a huge fine.

Wineguy, you’re an idiot. First I’m not a City employee and second all of my posts originate from my house, SLO, or my S.O. in Morro Bay. You need to add a layer of aluminum foil.

Before everyone starts disabling their neighbors sprinklers, think of what significant event happens to the population in San Luis Obispo every August.

It’s either they all take a bath or time for the annual toilet flush.

No. Our population increases by 30%.