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By Sherry Listgarten

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Am I saving enough water yet?

Uploaded: Jun 19, 2022
We are in our third year of drought in California and it’s not pretty. SoCal residents are under some unusually severe restrictions. Our area has softer limits, but that may tighten up as the summer progresses. Many of us are trying to use less water but it gets harder as you go and it’d be nice to know when you’ve done enough. Hence the title of this blog post: How much water is too much water?

Unfortunately, I don’t have much more of an answer on this than you do. Probably, if you have a lush green lawn and your irrigation is making puddles in the street, you are using too much.

And probably if your yard looks like this, or you don’t have a yard, you are doing pretty well.

But there are lots of yards that are in between. All of the yards shown below look terrific and seem to have pretty drought-tolerant plantings. The residents may be wondering, are they saving enough?

How do we know when we’ve done enough? I have no idea. But I thought I’d share how much water my house uses and maybe you will share yours and we’ll get some collective idea of where we’re at.

My house uses a boatload of water, despite our efforts over the last three years to use less. Here is a chart showing our monthly water use.

Monthly water use at my house from January 2017 through May 2022

You can see that our water use is almost all for irrigation, which is turned down in winter months. (1) In 2019 our gardener switched all the irrigation to once a week. You can see we used less in the hot summer months but we used more during other months because there was little rain. (The peaks of the graph are shorter but wider.) Look at how much water we used in January and February of 2021 relative to previous years. It’s ironic how in a drought you end up needing to use more water.

Last summer our gardener cut back on irrigation even more, switching several zones to water only once every ten days (2) and cutting back further on irrigation times. I knew that we would lose the thirstier plants but that was okay. It was a sort of survival of the fittest competition. The backyard lawn started looking worse and worse, and in September we mulched over it.

We mulched over the lawn last fall.

I’m not sure what our water use will look like this summer, but I believe we’ve made a decent dent relative to 2019 and even 2020-21.

But is it enough? We still use an enormous amount of water. If we use 10 CCF (3) in one summer month, which represents a lot of savings, that is still about 250 gallons per day. With only two people in the house that comes out to 125 gallons per person per day. The map in this article indicates that per capita water use in 2020 in East Palo Alto was 40 gallons per person per day, 64 in Mountain View, 71 in Menlo Park, and 101 in Pleasanton. Ooh, hey, it is 125 in Los Altos. I am not alone! (To be fair, though, the average month at our house is probably lower than 10 CCF.)

Last summer I measured our water use every day for a few months.

The irrigation days dominate, using over 750 gallons of water (100 cubic feet). The other days we use anywhere from 4-10 cubic feet, which is 30-75 gallons. Even that seemed like a lot to me. When we had no showers or laundry or dishwasher, we still used 30 gallons. On what? But the meter doesn’t show a leak and given the scale of our irrigation use, I didn’t bother to investigate.

Could we use less if asked, without killing even more plants? I’m not sure. The lot is big -- 9200 sf -- and the house and driveway take up just 2500 sf, leaving a lot of greenery that needs water. There is a big pepper tree in front , an even bigger elm in back, plus all kinds of hedges, smaller trees, and shrubs galore. These are established plants, not very water hungry, but they still need water. The front irrigation runs every ten days, one zone for 15 minutes, another for 10, and a drip area for 45. The back irrigation runs weekly, with five zones at 15 minutes and a drip at 30. It’s about 2.5 hours a week, and will probably be more as the days get hotter. (4)

Just some of the plants I am watering.

Moreover, at some point I want to plant the recently mulched area in my yard, which will mean even more water use, especially when the plants are young. I will try to select drought-tolerant natives, but still.

Where is all of this headed? I don’t think Palo Alto will be sending out the Plant Police, but I wonder how it’s going to sort out. If the drought continues, how should we evolve our yards? I don’t know.

Does anyone else want to share how much water you are using, where you have saved water, where you think most of your water is going now, and if there’s anywhere you can’t imagine cutting back?

Notes and References
1. There’s still some irrigation in winter, for underneath the extended roofline.

2. Before this I didn’t even know you could water every ten days. The relevant setting is called “Skip days” on my Rainbird irrigation box.

3. 1 CCF = 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons.

4. I don’t know which types of spray heads the irrigation uses or, more generally, how much water each zone uses per minute.

Current Climate Data (May 2022)
Global impacts, US impacts, CO2 metric, Climate dashboard

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Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 7:10 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

We save water by picking up free recycled water in Contra Costa County. It keeps our lawns and drought tolerant plants happy. Dead lawns are depressing.

Posted by Peter B, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 9:08 am

Peter B is a registered user.

Last billing period (April 21-May 19) we used an average of 82 cubic feet a day with three people in the house. Our lot is 2300 square feet and we have been using less than required in previous drought restrictions by watering outside twice a week, showering twice a week, laundry twice a week and rarely using the dishwasher. The big use of water is keeping our pool filled and we don't know what we can do about that given it is kidney shaped and hard to cover.

Posted by Ronen, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 9:12 am

Ronen is a registered user.

Last year we took out most of our lawn and replaced it with drought tolerant plants. As a result we use about 60% less water this year.

Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a blogger,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 10:10 am

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

@Ronen, that is an incredible improvement you made in water use! I'd love to hear more about the process of taking out your lawn. How did that work? Also, if you have before/after photos that you want to share, you can email them to me and I'd be happy to post them.

@Jennifer, thanks for the comment! What does it mean to pick up recycled water? Do you bring a bunch of big containers, fill them up, lug them out of your car, then fill up watering cans so you can hand water? (Also, where do you get the water?)

@PeterB, thanks, that is really interesting about pool evaporation. I wonder if another reader will have a suggestion...

BTW, a reader suggested that I include a link to this article on how to read your water meter. It has some great information, including how to check for leaks.

These are all really interesting and helpful comments, thank you!

Posted by lina+crane, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 10:16 am

lina+crane is a registered user.

I use Purple Pipe Company which has recycled water.

Posted by scott, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 10:46 am

scott is a registered user.

Thank you so much for sharing this data. I think it's an important part of helping people understand water usage. I'm sort of the opposite of you. I don't think about my water usage very much at all. We replaced a low-flow shower head with a high-flow one some years back, for example.

Our family of four uses 3.75 CCF/mo, averaged over a year.

The secret is that we live in dense multifamily housing. If you don't have landscaping, nothing else matters: you use less than people who do. As a housing activist, I often hear people argue against dense housing with "but where will we get the water?" The reality is increasing density replaces high-water landscaping with low-water multifamily. Building multifamily in Palo Alto also prevents displacing housing development into exurban, landscaping-intensive areas (with higher climate/traffic/wildfire impacts.)

I can't quickly find it now, but I found some time back that average use in our area is 11 or 12 CCF/mo. That's mixing up single-family and multi-family, so it doesn't tell you much about the difference. I suspect the gap between average SF and MF is more like 12-16 CCF, or enough to provision 3-4 homes.

The point I'd make here is that homeowners concerned about high water bills should favor more high-density development in Palo Alto. It vastly reduces competition for water, relative to displacing the housing out to Gilroy and Stockton.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 11:42 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

Sherry - We pick up free water at Central Contra Costa County District Facility. Yes, you have to bring your own containers and fill them up. You can take up to 300 gallons per trip, and make as many trips as you want, as long as you live in Contra Costa County. I don't know if a car would work. My husband uses his truck. Any water we don't use we share with our neighbor. We save a lot of water doing this, and it's worth it.

Posted by Ben, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 2:43 pm

Ben is a registered user.

I took out my back lawn years ago and replaced with bark (playground fiber). It's not green, it's not cool, and you can't walk barefoot on it but it doesn't need any water.
My front lawn is also long gone, replaced with native plants, rocks and minibark. I would say the time of front (decorative) lawns in California is long gone. We need gardens more in tune with the climate, which is dry and will only be getting drier.
Now I don't water outside at all so for one person I average 30 gallons a day (1.2 ccf/month) even with a covered pool. I think a house with a no water yard is like multifamily housing as far as water use is concerned, like Scott was saying.

Posted by Eddie, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 5:09 pm

Eddie is a registered user.

We remodeled out house in 2017, and in the process let our front/back lawns die. The front is now drought tolerant plants, and the back is decomposed granite (the latter was a bad choice, pavers or artificial grass would have been better).

We now average 3.75 CCF per month (6600 Sq ft. lot, 2000 sq. foot house).

The key to watering drought tolerant plants is to water less frequently, but for longer durations. The first year after the plants are planted, you might need to water 2-3 times a week. After the first year, you can ideally switch to once a week, then once every 8, 9, ... days. As the days get hotter (and the plants might need more water), the key is to increase the duration that you water that one day a week, and NOT to water more than one day a week. This will make your drought tolerant plants more robust and you will end using less water each year.

My understanding is that using a dishwasher is supposed to use less water (on avg.) than washing dishes in a sink. We have a "drawer" dishwasher that is actually 2 smaller dishwasher in the space that 1 dish washer would normally take. With 3 people eating 3 meals a day at home, we can easily fill a drawer every 2 to 3 days (so the dishes don't get too gross sitting in the dishwasher).

We have a gas-powered tankless water heater (yes, I know the recommendation is to a heat pump heater), which has a water recirculation option. That means that hot water continually recirculates through the pipes, so that when you go to shower the water becomes hot more quickly. That's good (less water)... but also bad, because you use more gas. I've tried (unsuccessfully) to find anything online that discusses the tradeoffs.

Posted by Allen Akin, a resident of Professorville,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 5:51 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

Just to clarify the development issue that Scott mentioned: Adding people here always increases the total amount of water used here, whether those new people are in high-density housing or not. That's the concern.

To reduce the total amount of water used here, you have to reduce the number of people here, or change the water usage patterns of the people already here. There are several ways to do the latter, and Sherry's blog entry offers good insights into that process. (Thanks, Sherry!)

Posted by scott, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 6:20 pm

scott is a registered user.

It is absolutely possible to increase the population while decreasing water use. Replace thirsty landscaping with efficient housing within a certain range of ratios, and you'll reduce water consumption.

But the more important point is that people have been trying to keep growth from happening for fifty years. Hasn't worked! They've only succeeded in pushing sprawl into higher-impact areas. We could have had high-efficiency apartments near jobs. By voting against that, the Palo Alto electorate has gotten more lawns and gardens in Gilroy and Stockton competing with us for California's limited water (and road space) --and MUCH higher water bills (and traffic) along with that.

The bad news is we've dug ourselves into a hole. The good news is it's never a bad time to stop digging.

Posted by Allen Akin, a resident of Professorville,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 8:36 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

"Replace thirsty landscaping", whether with housing or not, is an example of "change[ing] the water usage patterns of the people already here". The point is you can't simply add population without increasing water usage. To grow and stay within the limited water supply, you have to prepare for it first. (The same consideration applies to transportation, power, and other issues.)

A great many people have been promoting growth for the past fifty years, and that's why we have so much of it. Agreed, it's a great time to stop digging. :-)

Posted by KOhlson, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 9:21 pm

KOhlson is a registered user.

@Eddie - I plugged my hot water recirc pump into a smart outlet. I take showers at different times each day, so a minute before I get into the shower I turn it on from my smart phone. Hot and ready when I am - no wasted water. If you keep a more regular schedule, you could easily set a smart switch to turn it on for a few minutes before hand, priming the hot water pipe.

Posted by Mondoman, a resident of Green Acres,
on Jun 19, 2022 at 11:48 pm

Mondoman is a registered user.

Some people collect laundry rinse water (from top loaders) either to wash the next load or to irrigate plants:
Web Link
Web Link
If your plants are not near your laundry area, substantial piping could be involved.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 12:45 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Here's a couple of thoughts.

Outside temps are reduced by shade and growing plants. A green lawn, lush vegetation and flowering plants will reduce the ambient outside temperature as well as the inside temperature of the rooms nearby. They are a form of natural air condition.

Outside furniture, artificial grass, various types of rock formations, gravel, etc. all still need water to keep clean, particularly in areas where skunks, raccoons, etc. roam at night.

If we want to use our outdoor space as extra living space (Eichlers were marketed for their outdoor/indoor living ability) then these things have to be taken into account. Our outdoor space can use no water if it is thought of as a designer backdrop like wallpaper, but for actual practical use as an integral living space for our homes, for children to play, families to eat, pets to exercise or to grow vegetables and fruit trees, we need watering them. Our lives are messy, and messes need to be cleaned and kept clean.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 4:19 pm

Donald is a registered user.

Replaced lawns with low water-use landscaping in 2013. Everything, including vegetable garden, is on drip irrigation with smart controller. We have 3-4 people living here most of the time. Our use is usually 80-90 gallons per day total. Our water bill is usually 4 CCF except summer when it might go up to 5 or 6 for one or two months. No heroics, no greywater, nothing except common sense and modern appliances.

Driving water around in personal vehicles from Contra Costa County seems to me to be a bad trade-off of water vs gasoline and air pollution. (Ed note: I think the commenter who does this lives in Contra Costa County.)

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 4:31 pm

Donald is a registered user.

Eddie said:
"The key to watering drought tolerant plants is to water less frequently, but for longer durations."

That is not correct. The key is to water just long enough to wet the root zone but no more. If you water deeper than the plant roots you are wasting that water. Use a soil moisture probe. Find out, given your soil and your roots and your water delivery system, how long it takes to wet to the bottom of the root zone. Stick with that time and adjust the frequency as needed. Wait until the top half of the soil you are watering has dropped in moisture content by 50%, then water again. That will keep your root zones moist without drying out or overwatering. If you have heavy clay and water starts to run off before you wet the whole root zone, water in two separate cycles separated by an hour to allow the water to soak in.

Master Gardeners of Sonoma County have a paper on how to calculate a drip irrigation schedule: Web Link

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 6:10 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Picking up water is not a "bad trade off." My husband goes every other month, and he can get there and back on less than a gallon of gas. We live in central Contra Costa County. We save $35-$40 a month, and we have two huge green lawns, and happy plants. If we didn't pick up recycled water, we'd be considered "water wasters" because we don't want dead lawns. They're fine for others, especially during a water shortage. Dead lawns are too depressing for me.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 7:07 pm

Donald is a registered user.

My last water bill from Palo Alto charged me about $0.014 per gallon. If gasoline costs $6 per gallon and you use 1 gallon of gas you would need to get 6/0.014 = 428 gallons of water per trip to break even. Even in the good old days when gas was $4 per gallon you would need to get 286 gallons per trip to break even. I don't see it being worth it unless is water is a lot more expensive. Perhaps the economics are different in Contra Costa County.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 7:31 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

It's not just gas vrs. water. We save $35-$40 a month on our water bill, which means we save $70 - $80 per trip. It doesn't cost $70 or $80 in gas. Reading comprehension? We also have very green lawns, which we wouldn't have during a water shortage if we weren't picking up free water.

Saving $70- $80 isn't much, but it adds up.

I don't remember if water was higher when we lived in Palo Alto.

It's not worth it to everyone. Some people are too lazy to do what my husband is doing, and they couldn't care less if they waste water. We care.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 8:17 pm

Donald is a registered user.

Your water must cost a lot more than ours in Palo Alto. How much do you pay per gallon? How much per month that you can save $35 - $40? My water bill only runs $35-$50 per month.

Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a blogger,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 8:23 pm

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

@Eddie, re recirc lines and energy cost vs water cost, I am going to measure that at some point and will let you know. In the meantime, faucet-activated recirc seems interesting (do an internet search). My plumber recommended it.

@Donald, I think you are onto something. IMO sensible building codes plus low-water plants plus smart irrigation should be enough. I am amazed at your water use. Feel free to send a pic of your low-water yard and I will post it!

@Jennifer, I expect you would like Purple Pipe if they were in your neighborhood. Looks like they have a waitlist now!

Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a blogger,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 8:30 pm

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

FWIW, it looks to me like the rates are the same ballpark, namely $5-$10 per hundred cubic feet, or between $0.01 and $0.02 per gallon. (1 CCF is 748 gallons.)

One of the reasons I'm not excited about rain barrels or whatever is they are so small in the grand scheme of things, and the rain is concentrated here, so they will be full very rarely. I really like the "just fix your landscape and irrigation" approach, if it can be done at low cost.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 9:19 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

I'm not sure what we pay per gallon, but our water bill was $65-$70 per month before we started picking up water. We have large yards, a swimming pool, etc. I really thought our water usage was higher than average until I just read an East Bay Times article that with a 6 percent rate increase, average water bill would be $60.33 in Contra Costa County. The article was dated Jan. 2017 - 5 1/2 years ago. Either we pay more for water out here or water usage is higher. Or both. Unless your bill is lower than average in Palo Alto.

Sherry - Yes, I would like Purple Pipe if they were in our neighborhood.

Posted by Umbra, a resident of another community,
on Jun 20, 2022 at 10:12 pm

Umbra is a registered user.

Great article! What I have found very useful is actually knowing how much water I use. The device I installed was recommended by a friend- it's called Flume, made by a small company in San Luis Obispo-$200 on Amazon. You strap their sensor onto your water meter- takes 5 minutes, no plumber. It connects to your home Wi-Fi and gives you accurate readings of your water use. The phone app show the breakdown of outdoor and indoor use, breaking out showers, toilet flushes, and other uses. It's great to see what your usage is, and it will detect leaks and send your text alerts.

That Flume device has helped me to titrate our household use to 60gal/day per person. That is the level that the SoCal water people are shooting for, and I expect we in the Bay Area will get to that soon. I live in Los Altos and have found that the outdoor use is the biggest water waste. Using Flume has helped me to get real data on the usage. I think the water companies should roll these devices out to all customers so you can make educated changes in your water use.

Posted by SufyaanSenior, a resident of Country Fair,
on Jun 21, 2022 at 5:29 am

SufyaanSenior is a registered user.

Thanks for an article like this!

Posted by SufyaanSenior, a resident of Country Fair,
on Jun 21, 2022 at 5:32 am

SufyaanSenior is a registered user.

I remember it as this article Web Link

Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 21, 2022 at 10:58 am

BobB is a registered user.

I hope I get the time to do a detailed reply here. Residential water use in the Bay Area is so politicized that people don't realize it's mostly a solved problem. The trouble is (portion removed: not everyone wants) to create desalination, recycling, or storage solutions (portion removed). Scott touched on some of the themes, but I think he's missing the big picture. None of these actions we're taking like replacing landscaping or shorter showers or any of it is really about helping the environment. (portion removed)

In the broad scheme of things, residential water use is a tiny fraction of what's used for agriculture and environmental protection. A visit to the army corps of engineers Bay model in Marin county is very worthwhile to get some perspective here.

Hoping to get a chance to post more. Many of us have been duped.

Ed note: BobB, please avoid broad generalizations that attack whole categories of people.

Posted by Eddie, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Jun 21, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Eddie is a registered user.


I don't think our watering suggestions are necessarily contradictory. My main point was that if it gets really hot, then water longer - not more often. The site you link says the same thing - e.g. if it gets really hot, use your irrigation system's override system to increase the watering duration (but not frequency). Again, this applies to established plants, not new plants.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Jun 22, 2022 at 9:38 am

BobB is a registered user.

I stand by all the points in my original post, and I think they were really important ones.

Apart from that I want to emphasize that brown lawns and unwashed cars do absolutely nothing to prevent climate change or address any kind of environmental issue.

There is opposition to both building new housing and the water infrastructure necessary to support the new housing. Yes in my backyard.

Posted by ndn, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 22, 2022 at 12:48 pm

ndn is a registered user.

This is the way I save water. I have a plastic basin in the kitchen sink. Whatever water I use in the sink goes back to my plants-easy and affordable.

Posted by Green Gables, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jun 22, 2022 at 1:11 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

I take a shower with a bucket, and that water waters some of my plants.

Posted by Alan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Jun 24, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Alan is a registered user.

It's true that agriculture takes the lion's share of water in California - but it's a more justified use than keeping yards green. There is a thought that people should use native plants from areas a little south of here. The idea is it's anticipating some inevitable part of climate change. Our back yard is on a once-per-two week 15 minute irrigation cycle, and it looks great. Our front yard only gets leftover water from washing veggies, and it's fine. It supports local birds, butterflys, and bees. It certainly looks better than dead grass. If you like green ground cover, and don't need to walk on it, Carmel Sur Manzanita is always dark green, and once established (3 years), doesn't need more than a little water here in Menlo Park (maybe once per month). Bonus: edge once per year and you're done.

Posted by PH, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills,
on Jun 26, 2022 at 12:50 pm

PH is a registered user.

Don't waste water. Suggestions here, as to how to reduce irrigation demand are really helpful , but I don't think anyone should be embarrassed to "use" water.

Here is aggregate regional (SFPUC) water use from 1971- 2019. Web Link

After the 2012-2016 drought, water demand was at historic lows for SF and Peninsula customers, down 30% from 2006 levels of about 200mgd, and even more from usage in 1970-1990 levels of 250mgd, despite increases in regional population over that time.

SFPUC is contractually obligated and prepared to deliver 265mgd.

Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a blogger,
on Jun 26, 2022 at 8:45 pm

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

FWIW, here is what my gardener told me after she read this post...

There are different angles from which to approach your question. Water purveyors must create Urban Water Management Plans, updated every 5 years. These set urban water use targets based on baseline consumption and increasing conservation. For example, Mountain View's 2020 plan has a water use target of 146 gallons per capita per day (gpcd), although currernt use is 112 gpcd. Palo Alto's target is 180.3 GPCD while actual use is 141.7 gpcd.
A couple of water conservation laws from 2018 set water use standards for California. That indoor standard is 55 gallons per person per day until Jan 2025, then drops to 50 gpd. Outdoor standards are under development, to be based on climate and landscape area. Actual indoor use in California is 48 gpd (2017-2019).

Posted by BobB, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Jun 30, 2022 at 9:45 am

BobB is a registered user.

There is no reason we shouldn't be recycling water and building more water capacity. There is no justification for that other than as an impediment to building new homes.

A nice Green lawn is not a waste of water, nor is a nice clean car.

Also, importantly, people aren't drinking enough water. To sit down restaurants: always provide patrons with a glass of water on their table, whether they ask for it or not. If they don't drink it, pour it out. People aren't drinking enough water.

If we want to talk about a water use as an environmental issue, let's talk about paying American farmers to grow extremely water intensive crops like almonds in a desert for export to foreign countries. That's what is happening today. Some of that water is coming from groundwater that will not be replaceable for millions of years if it collapses.

One of the largest water users in Arizona is Saudi Arabia.

Web Link

Posted by PH, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills,
on Jul 1, 2022 at 11:38 am

PH is a registered user.

@BobB "let's talk about paying American farmers to grow extremely water intensive crops like almonds in a desert for export to foreign countries."

Yes. So

1.) If 80% of the water used is by agriculture, and we residents save 15% then we are only saving 3% of the total water used. It's a token effort.

2.) Publicly owned California water is being grown by foreign capital for use in foreign markets. It's particularly galling that the Saudi's are doing it since our sunny desert is no better than their sunny desert, so why can't they use sovereign money to build their own irrigation system like we did. Our policy to subsidize small American farmers turns into a policy that subsidizes foreign nation's food supplies with free California water.

3.) Many farms produce less in revenue from growing crops than they would if they sold their water. They have a free water price arbitrage, which they will eventually use when things get really tough.

Posted by Paly Grad, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive,
on Jul 3, 2022 at 8:31 pm

Paly Grad is a registered user.

On June 20, 2022, the City of Palo Alto Council implemented water use restrictions in Stage II of Palo Alto's Water Shortage Contingency Plan(PDF, 125KB) and restricted using drinking water (potable) irrigation to no more than two days a week, with exceptions for tree health, health and safety, and certain non-residential zone irrigation.

Stage II is designed for cutbacks up to 20%. The two additional water waste restrictions are:

Restaurants and other food service operations shall serve water to customers only upon request.
Operators of hotels and motels shall provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily. The hotel or motel shall prominently display notice of this option in each guestroom using clear and easily understood language.

Restrictions for Palo Alto Residents
Limit irrigation of ornamental landscapes and lawns to 2 days a week, before 10am. or after 6pm.

Know Your Watering Days
Mondays and Thursdays for odd numbered and numberless addresses; &
Tuesdays and Fridays for even numbered addresses.
Watering days apply except to ensure the health of trees and other perennial non-turf plantings. It is important to water your trees during drought, for more information and tree care tips please see?Tree Care Resources.

Posted by BobB, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Jul 6, 2022 at 8:47 am

BobB is a registered user.


Residential water use is not 20%, it's much less than that. Any savings are negligible.

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