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(second highest only to Seattle at $55.25); 100 g/p/d—$153.78 (Seattle came in second at $98.77); and 150 g/p/d—$284.10 (with Seattle second at $153.22). Of the cities surveyed, three others (Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and San Antonio) were included with Santa Fe and Seattle in the “Seasonal Increasing Block” category.
To put these numbers in perspective, the recently completed 2013 Annual Water Report listed the average consumption for Santa Fe residents to be 101 gallons per capita per day (gpcd), which compares favorably to the past few years (103 gpcd in 2009, 104 in 2010, 107 in 2011, and 106 in 2012). All calculations are based on Office of the State Engineer methodology. Whereas these are dramatic drops from the 1995 daily consumption of 168 gpcd, we do seem to be bouncing along a baseline without dramatic recent decreases.
Mayor Javier Gonzales was recently interviewed by National Public Radio’s Melissa Block regarding the impact of Santa Fe’s tiered-pricing water rates. He explained the pricing based on volume and also mentioned the high public awareness of the need for water conservation and the roles of toilet retrofits and rebates in reducing consumption. Tiered water rates are effective May 1 to Aug. 31 and daily restricted watering hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) are effective May 1 to Oct. 31.
A recentWashington Post article reprinted in The Santa Fe New Mexican chronicled the declining levels of the Colorado River and the potential impact on the seven states that use water from the Colorado. An online respondent asked why New Mexico was included in the list of seven. The Bureau of Reclamation’s San Juan-Chama Project (SJ-CP) provides about two-thirds of the total 8,720 acrefeet per year permitted for the Buckman direct diversion (BDD) project. The city’s annual share of BDD water (5,230 acrefeet) consists entirely of SJ-CP water from the Colorado River Basin. If you are looking for more reasons to conserve water, the first shortfall (11 percent) in 40 years of SJ-CP history occurred in 2014 and the Bureau of Reclamation is predicting even greater cutbacks in 2015.
StephenWiman has a background in earth science (M.S. and Ph.D. in geology). He is the owner of GoodWater Company, a member of the City of Santa Fe’sWater Conservation Committee and he serves on the Board of the Santa FeWatershed Association. He may be reached at 505.471.9036 and email@example.com.