November 20, 2002
Water fight brewing in San Antonio
A plan has been proposed to divert some water from the Guadeloupe River into the San Antonio Water System and two other water entities to meet its growing needs. This will put them in direct competition with the San Marcos River Foundation, which has already requested water from the Guadeloupe to ensure a minimum amount of fresh water flow into the San Antonio Bay, which houses a variety of species used for commercial and recreational purposes as well as being the winter home of the endangered whooping crane.
This is likely to be an ugly battle, and I'm not sure whose side I'm on just yet, but what caught my eye was this bit:
The $600 million project would bring SAWS 94,500-acre feet — about a third of what it currently uses — from below the confluence of the San Antonio and Guadalupe rivers via a 130-mile pipeline starting in 2011.
An acre-foot is equal to about 326,000 gallons and is considered enough water to meet the needs of two families of four for a year.
326,000 gallons of water a year for eight people. Wow. I had no idea.
Keep your eye on this. As population continues to boom in the dry Southwest, you'll be seeing more and more stories like it.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 20, 2002 to The great state of Texas
I'm skeptical. 326,000 gallons per year for eight people translates into just under 112 gallons per day per person.
I know we're a water-squandering people, but a hundred gallons a day? Do these people water their lawns twelve hours a day, or what?
I use about 74 gallons a day, based on my water bill (I live alone, so that's just me, one person). That is well below the average for my utility. I do not water outdoors or wash my car. I take showers, shave, brush my teeth, cook, wash dishes and laundry, and go to the bathroom in a low flow toilet.
The point is, 112 gallons a day per person is easy to reach, and may be a low estimate.
Maybe it depends on where you live. I averaged 63 gal/day from Apr-Aug (I also live alone, shower, brush teeth, cook, do dishes & laundry). I don't know how that fits with the local average, although I suspect it's low.
Over 100 gal/person/day still seems wasteful to me, even if it is easy to get there.
I suspect that the appliances you have can make a big difference. Some washing machines and dishwashers use a lot less water than others. We have a side-loading washing machine which uses less water, and we only run the dishwasher when it's really full. I'll have to check our water bill to see what our usage is.
Also, a family of four shares some water uses (car washing, lawn watering, laundry to some extent), so the I would expect that with more people in a household, the average water use would go down.
The water per person calculation usually doesn't separate out commercial and industrial uses. It's just total water use divided by total population. Even if the calculation is just for personal use, the amount of water that goes into residential irrigation in Texas, NM, AZ and southern Cal is staggering.