Solvang Saves Water

Jul 03, 2015

Solvang Saves Water
Kenneth Harwood
Economist
Solvang Chamber of Commerce

 

The world’s seventh largest economy faces higher costs of water. Years of drought in California bring the prospect of falling behind Brazil in economic output, as we learn to use less water.

Solvang is an example of progress and limits. Below are Solvang’s changes in water usage from the base year of 2013 through 2014. Governor Brown asks for 25% to be saved this year from what we used in 2013.

Each unit of water usage represents 10,000 cubic feet. The value 372 above is 37,200,000 cubic feet of water usage.

The total saved of 17% shows good progress in one year. Large variation in saving is plain. Multifamily residential saving and landscape irrigation saving are at or near the Governor’s goal of 25% in one year instead of two. Industrial usage rose 21% instead of falling, while commercial/institutional saving was 2% in a year.

Commercial/institutional progress in the first year illustrates some of the difficulties of serving public expectations and saving large amounts of water. Restaurants, for example, need water to wash dishes, clean equipment, and clean premises. Reductions in water usage could pose threats to public health and safety.

Industrial saving is limited by some industrial processes. The amount of water in loads of ready mix concrete remains governed by rules of good engineering and the number of loads ordered by customers. 

A benefit of capitalism is that it requires controlling costs in times of scarcity.

Rising cost of water in the Pacific West, California, and Solvang is expected for years ahead, as water saving projects unfold and additional sources of water develop.

Thanks to Brad Vidro, City Manager of Solvang, for data on water usage.

Posted in Featured Articles.