Water usage

Cut Water Usage By 20%: Offset The Increases in San Diego

San Diego County residents should prepare for a series of water rate increases that started on December 1, 2023. The decision, announced by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA), aims to address various financial and environmental challenges and provide the sustainability and reliability of the region’s water supply. These increases, when all is said and done, will increase water rates by 19% for San Diegans.

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The Scheduled Increases

The water rate hikes will be implemented in three phases over the coming months:

  1. December 1, 2023: The initial increase has already taken effect, with a modest rise of 5% for both residential and commercial customers.
  2. January 1, 2024: A second increment of 4% was instated, further adjusting the rates to reflect ongoing costs and necessary infrastructure investments.
  3. January 1, 2025: The final scheduled increase will be applied, completing the planned adjustments for the fiscal year.

These incremental increases are designed to distribute the financial burden over several months, making it more manageable for consumers.

Allocation of Funds: A Breakdown

The city has outlined how the revenue from the water rate increases will be allocated: 59% will be directed toward purchasing imported water, while 41% will be used for maintenance, upgrades, and debt services related to the city’s water system.

Part of this budget will be invested in the Pure Water San Diego program, a pioneering recycling initiative to significantly reduce the city’s dependency on imported water. The goal is for this program to provide half of San Diego’s water supply by 2035.

More Detailed Reasons for the Rate Increases:

Our city council and the (SDCWA) provide other key factors that have driven the need for these water rate adjustments:

Infrastructure Upgrades, Such As Upgrades to Pipelines

Much of San Diego County’s water infrastructure is aging and requires significant investment to maintain and improve. Upgrades to pipelines, treatment plants, and storage facilities are essential to ensure a reliable water supply.

Drought Preparedness, Such As Desalination and Water Recycling

With California facing frequent drought conditions, there is a critical need to invest in sustainable water sources and conservation programs. The additional revenue will help fund projects such as desalination and water recycling, which are vital for long-term water security.

Rising Operational Costs, Such As Labor Costs

The costs associated with water treatment, energy, and labor have been steadily increasing. These hikes are necessary to cover these operational expenses without compromising service quality.

Environmental Regulations

Compliance with state and federal environmental regulations requires ongoing investments in technology and infrastructure to meet stringent water quality and conservation standards.

The Impact on Consumers

The cumulative effect of these rate increases will be noticeable in water bills. Still, the SDCWA emphasizes that adjustments are crucial to providing reliable and quality water services. The authority has also outlined several programs and resources to assist low-income households and promote water conservation practices among all users.

Consumers are encouraged to adopt water-saving measures to mitigate the impact of higher rates. Simple steps such as fixing leaks, using water-efficient appliances, and reducing outdoor water use can significantly lower household water consumption.

Looking Ahead

The San Diego County Water Authority remains committed to maintaining a sustainable and resilient water system. These rate increases are part of a broader strategy to invest in infrastructure, secure diverse water sources, and promote conservation. As the region grapples with environmental challenges and population growth, these proactive measures are essential for safeguarding the water supply for future generations.

The SDCWA will continue to engage with the community, providing updates and support throughout the implementation of these rate adjustments. Residents can visit the SDCWA’s official website or contact their local water service provider for more detailed information on the upcoming water rate increases and available assistance programs.

High Water Costs in California and San Diego

California’s water prices are significantly above the national average, and residents of San Diego face even steeper costs. San Diegans, in particular, can expect to pay nearly double the national average water bill. This increase is attributed to various factors, including the region’s reliance on imported water, extensive infrastructure maintenance, and investments in innovative programs like Pure Water San Diego to secure a sustainable water future. As these costs rise, residents must understand the factors driving these increases and the benefits they aim to deliver in terms of reliability and sustainability of the water supply.

sdcwa water supply

Whether We Believe it or Not its Already Happened

Most price hikes have already occurred, so what can consumers do? Understandably, most consumers feel helpless. This is a major increase; it’s 19%. That number sounds crazy to the average homeowner, and it is. Remember, the city council approved it with a 5-3 vote. Why did three council members disagree? While some members of the city council and the SDCWA may sound very convincing, it’s our responsibility to stay engaged and vote on who’s in office and the issues at hand. Below is a link to the budget increases from the SDCWA budget for 2024.

Here is a breakdown highlighting key areas where you can reduce water usage effectively. There are tailored strategies for each major water use category to help cut down on water consumption:

Outdoor Watering (30%)

Smart Irrigation Systems

Weather-based irrigation controllers, also known as smart irrigation controllers, optimize water usage by adjusting watering schedules based on real-time weather conditions and soil moisture levels. Unlike traditional timers, these advanced systems use local weather data, such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, and wind speed, to determine the precise amount of water your garden or lawn needs.

Xeriscaping is a Landscape That Requires Little or No Irrigation.

Designing your landscape for minimal irrigation involves incorporating drought-resistant plants and ground covers that thrive with less water. This approach, known as xeriscaping, emphasizes using native and adaptive species well-suited to the local climate, reducing the need for supplemental watering. Drought-resistant plants such as lavender, succulents, and ornamental grasses have deep root systems and natural adaptations that enable them to survive prolonged dry periods.

Rain Sensors Effectively Conserve Water

Installing rain sensors on irrigation systems effectively conserves water by preventing unnecessary watering during or immediately after rainfall. These sensors detect moisture levels from precipitation and automatically override scheduled irrigation cycles when sufficient rain has occurred. Doing so guarantees that your garden or lawn only receives the water it needs, avoiding overwatering and reducing water waste.

Group Plants by Water Needs

Grouping plants with similar water, sunlight, and soil requirements together, a practice known as hydrozoning, is an efficient strategy to optimize irrigation and avoid overwatering. By organizing your garden into zones based on plant needs, you can tailor watering schedules and amounts to match the specific requirements of each group. For instance, drought-tolerant plants can be placed in one area that receives less frequent watering, while thirstier plants can be grouped in another zone with more regular irrigation.

Toilets (24%)

Dual-Flush Toilets Greatly Reduce Water Usage

Installing dual-flush toilets is a practical and efficient way to conserve water in the bathroom. These toilets feature two flush options: a full flush for solid waste and a reduced flush for liquid waste. Dual-flush toilets can greatly reduce water usage by allowing users to choose the appropriate flush volume. Typically, the reduced flush uses about half the water of a full flush, leading to substantial water savings over time.

water saving toilets helps with water conservation, upgraded bathroom, new toilet, low flow high efficiency toilet

WaterSense Low Flow Toilet

Low-flow toilets are designed to use significantly less water per flush than traditional toilets. They offer a practical solution for water conservation in homes and businesses. Typically, low-flow toilets use around 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf). This reduction in water usage can lead to substantial savings on water bills and help conserve a vital natural resource.

Modern low-flow toilets are engineered to maintain strong flushing performance despite the lower water volume. They often incorporate advanced technologies like pressure-assisted flushing or redesigned bowl and trapway systems. By installing low-flow toilets, individuals and organizations can make a meaningful impact on reducing their water footprint while still enjoying reliable and efficient toilet performance.

Check for Leaks Regularly

Checking your home for water leaks using your water meter is a straightforward and effective method to detect hidden water waste. First, make sure that no water is being used inside or outside your home. Locate your water meter, typically found outside near the street or in a utility area. Inside the meter is a flow indicator dial. It’s usually a triangle or circle. With all the water off in the home, you have a water leak if the flow indicator dial is spinning. Early detection of leaks conserves water and prevents potential water damage. It can also avoid costly repairs, ensuring your home remains efficient and secure.

Showers (20%)

Low-Flow Showerheads Can Save 50% Without Compromising Quality

Replacing old showerheads with low-flow models is a simple yet highly effective way to reduce water consumption in your home. Traditional showerheads can use up to 5 gallons of water per minute. In comparison, low-flow showerheads use 2.5 gallons per minute or less, cutting water usage by up to 50% without compromising the quality of your shower. Modern low-flow showerheads are designed with advanced aerating and laminar flow technologies that mix air with water to maintain strong water pressure and a satisfying shower experience. Faucets (19%)

Aerators Mixing Air With the Water Stream

Installing faucet aerators is an effective and affordable way to reduce water flow without sacrificing pressure. It’s a smart choice for enhancing water efficiency in your home. Faucet aerators are small devices that screw onto the end of your faucets, mixing air with the water stream. They’re built for the sole purpose of reducing the overall flow rate. Despite using less water, the aerated stream maintains a strong and effective flow, ensuring a pleasant user experience whether you’re washing hands, dishes, or vegetables.

Washing Machines (17%)

High-Efficiency Washers

Using high-efficiency washing machines is a powerful way to reduce household water consumption and energy use. These machines are designed to use remarkably less water per cycle than traditional models, often cutting water usage by up to 50%. High-efficiency washers achieve this by tumbling clothes through a small amount of water rather than agitating them in a full tub, providing clothes are thoroughly cleaned with minimal water. Additionally, they spin at higher speeds, extracting more water from clothes and reducing drying time and energy use. Always run the washing machine with a full load or adjust the water level setting for smaller loads.

Implementing these strategies can significantly reduce water consumption in each major usage category, contributing to water conservation and lower utility bills.

Use a Dishwasher

Dishwashers generally use much less water than washing dishes by hand, making them a more water-efficient option for cleaning up after meals. Modern dishwashers are designed to maximize cleaning power while minimizing water usage, typically using as little as 3 to 5 gallons of water per cycle.

In contrast, washing dishes by hand consumes up to 20 gallons or more, especially if the water is left running. To optimize water and energy savings, the dishwasher should only be run when it’s fully loaded. Running a full load ensures that the machine operates at peak efficiency, effectively distributing water and detergent across all the dishes.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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