I have been meaning to talk about my water bill for some time now – and since my bill just arrived a bit ago now is as good a time as any. This period my bill from the SFPUC is $208.10. My family of 4 and our turtle used an average of 271 GPD (gallons per day – 15,000 gallons this last billing cycle) well under the 130 GPD per person/520 GPD per family average for CA. And the house I am currently in isn’t all that special, the toilets are standard 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF) models, the washing machine is a regular top loader, and I do have a lawn, though it is a tiny 6 X 12 foot postage stamp.
I like my water service , its some of the best in the world. But to give the costs some perspective, your average business/farm pays about $10 – $100 per acre foot of water. An acre foot is the standard unit for measuring water volume, and it equals about 325,000 gallons. So where that business pays a hundred bucks per acre foot, my family pays 325,000 divided by 15,000 times $208.10 = $4,474.15 per acre foot.
Wow. Seems like BS to me, especially when I hear farmers in the central valley who grow things like cotton in the desert complain about water rates – here is a tip, grow something less water intensive. I know I can do more to conserve water and money, and I am curious what my famiy’s water use will be as we are soon to move into the redesigned house on 39th ave that features many advanced water saving features. But another obvious opportunity for savings as well as revenue for the state in these tough economic times is aggricultural water use. Farmers need to pay more for our water. If we tripple their rates you and I the residential customer are still getting screwed. Its time everyone does their part.