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.”

Mr. Holly

So the city makes money off of tourism but the property owners and citizens pay the price for it. Is that why everyone has brown grass instead of CalPoly and other “tourist attractions”?

Jorge Estrada

Just like in Cambria, lodging is a big strain on water usage. That will always be the case, tourism and cuting back on water don’t mix. Ever rented a motel, how showers did you take? I wonder how are water usage we compares to the Disneyland area?


Really? I’d like to see proof of this alleged water use. Real proof, not just some printout that could be faked. Everywhere I go I see brown lawns or no lawns at all and dying trees – except in city parks.

Could the city be making this up as another excuse to raise rates?


What would one expect from the self proclaimed environmental hot spot in the county!

Takes a lot of water to wash all those reusable bags?




Seriously lame. The life cycle analysis behind wood for paper is a huge water suck, and plastic pollutes what we love on Central Coast. I have maybe washed my reusable cotton tote that I bought in 1994 at Safeway … In the last twenty years– maybe 2 times. Grow up. Get real people. Oh yah and the data behind “germs” in reusable totes is just down right ridiculous. Sorry I have spent a lot of time on these issues as a buyer for the USAs second largest grocer.

Bottom line drought is real. Time to get real about potable water and judicious use. Period. They can charge me more by increasing rates, I don’t give a damn, I just want water available to drink and use like a developed society should? Why wash a car? A tote bag? Why water non native ornamental plants with potable water? There is so much grey water going down the drain, I just don’t understand the insanity?

Hello, fog nets anyone?


Seriously check out fog nets- great MIT projects in drought areas of Africa to collect potable water. One thing we still have is fog although that had diminished as well over last several years. There are amazing industry led fog net programs for wine I believe in Chile (wine) as well. Great stuff.


Hey San Luis…

Thanks for using all the water we saved, arrogant, selfish, and self centered. Enjoy your green grass. No wonder you are the happiest place on the earth…it’s because you think you are the only place on earth.

From Cambria with love.


Unfortunately there are many people who will only voluntarily curtail their water usage IF and only IF they incur some kind of penalty personally. I’ve felt for a long time that San Luis Obispo has been VERY SLOW inacting stringent water usage rules. Penalties need to be set for usage over a certain amount, and people with lush green lawns should be put on notice, unless they can prove that only gray water has been used for the lawn. I still see people hosing down sidewalks as well.

In Morro Bay where I live, we have some water usage rules in place, but yet again it seems that some are working hard to restrict their usage and others are ignoring the problem completely. It’s frustrating to me to curtail and save every drop I can, just to see others in town carelessly wasting water. Just like in other aspects of life, seems like some of us have to “carry the water” so to speak for everyone else!


Before screaming for government to restrict our liberties, wouldn’t it be prudent to see the actual statistics of where the water use is coming from?

According to the utilities deparment referenced in the KSBY story, Calpoly accounts for 7% of the increase.


empty dorms to full dorms = lots of showers and toilets flushing.


“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.” So…excluding students….STILL extremely high usage!

And now that we are mentioning students….aren’t students usually extremely interested in all things environmental? SO….why can’t Cal Poly get the students on board with CONSERVATION in these extreme times? Seems like a conservation of water usage program could be incorporated into the orientation…perhaps there are multiple majors that could learn by doing with this topic!!


Students could care less. Their liberal professors are to whom you are referring.

Taking calpoly out of the stats does not fully account for calpolys impact. Students live in rented apts and houses in addition to living om campus. Incoming freshman are traditionally brought here by thei families who remain in town for several days.

Reserve judgements and demands for govt to restrict our liberties (like bathing) until additional data comes out.

Now got to go water my lawn and record a few takes of the ice bucket challenge until I get it just right.


Not in August. Cal Poly starts in late September.


Another problem with “mandatory cut-backs” by government agencies is in the baseline from which they determine how much a given user needs to cut to avoid penalties. I have minimal use of water to start. I was starting to cut back where I could well before the regulations came into effect so that my baseline was already low. I have no lawn to let die. I was already abiding by the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule for flushing. I can and will cut back a bit more but I am reaching the limits of what I can do without becoming a filthy pig.

Meanwhile, many others ignore changes until they are forced to do so and then do the minimum they must to avoid penalties. These same people often have an extravagant baseline use level to start because they were never “water-conscious” before. This leads to situations of unfairness and resentment which makes united efforts much more difficult.


Well instead of all that, last year the city actually “collapsed” its conservation pricing tiers for water, so that if you’re a really big user (think motel or mcMansion), you actually pay less than before, while the little guy who tries to conserve pays more than before. How’s that for sending a conservation message? This city’s run by idiots.


I drive through SLO and I am shocked by the wet cement and sprinkler usage, lush lawns and non xeriscape plantings throughout the City. It’s time to wake up businesses and citizens alike. We are running dry…. Just reached the 4 year mark of #CaliforniaDrought! I was outside one office with Australian ferns, I mean seriously? Grow up people. We are showering 2 times a week and using washcloth basin for other days after hot tubbing – keeping water for up to 5-6 months with good care, we are doing grey water to plants, I am absolutely stunned that business, academia and households are not being much more serious.


Oh! I see! It’s the tourists; the hotels etc. are making money, so, it’s OK!

I wonder, do the hotels and motels practice or encourage any water conservation?

And, it’s OK to waste water if you are rich; some folks in Ferrini heights a few blocks away just installed brand new lush TURF in their huge font yard….!


While putting in “new lush TURF” wouldn’t surprise me, have you double checked to verify whether the folks in Ferrini heights installedl artificial/synthetic lawn? The pricey artificial turf very closely mimics the real stuff.


I saw the stuff on the truck & being installed it is TURF, the difference is obvious


Can Compton use the same rationale?