Given the lack of rain, we all want to conserve water in California. The ongoing drought and this year’s anemic rain plus the lacking over the last few years, it is soon to become a crisis larger than anyone living here would want. The odd part of this equation, how does installing water conservation items and looking at the actual water costs truly affect your savings.
Last year I removed my entire front yard and replaced it with a drought resistant variety of plants. Granted, one would think removing approximately 50% of my lawn would make a big difference in my water usage. Yes and no, but looking at the actual numbers, no.
My water usage is now about a quarter less than in the past but the truth, water usage is a small fraction of my total water bill here. In my January 2015 water bill the usage was 2,000 gallons for which I was charged $5.14. This is only 5.4% of the total $95.54 bill. During my highest usage period last year, I paid $5.02 per 1,000 gallons totaling $53.25 which represented 29% of the total bill.
I looked at last year compared to 2013 and my total water usage savings for a $4,000 investment in a couple of low flow fixtures and redoing my front lawn, $120. This makes the payback period 30 years. Granted water rates will increase shortening this payback period but it was the right thing to do. But strictly on a financial basis not the best investment. I found this to be very similar for installing a solar electric system at my home.
I hope you all do the right thing and conserve for water will be more precious than gold if this drought continues. But it is nice to know what the true cost to do so are.