Less and Lesser Water Use

Installing individual water meters in apartments can reduce use between 15 and 39 percent.

Statement:Installing individual water meters in apartments can reduce use between 15 and 39 percent, City Councilwoman Marti Emerald said Feb. 22 in an interview with voiceofsandiego.org.

Determination: True

Analysis: Today, most apartment and condo dwellers in San Diego don’t get a water bill and don’t know how much they consume. Emerald has developed a law that would require new construction to include meters on each unit.

The theory goes that apartment dwellers who have to pay for their water will have an incentive to use less. And numerous studies have tried to quantify just how much they save.

A 2004 study sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority and other water agencies pinned the answer at 15 percent. A 1999 study for two national housing associations said it was between 18 and 39 percent. The U.S. EPA says it’s between 20 and 40 percent, citing an even older 1991 study.

So, while Emerald’s estimate is correct, let’s settle on agreeable terminology for describing how much people will use in apartments if they have individual meters.

How about just: Less.

Anyone else have a more authoritative and recent study? E-mail me a link at rob.davis@voiceofsandiego.org or post a comment here.



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Summer Polacek

Summer Polacek

Summer is the Development Manager at Voice of San Diego. You can contact her at summer@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5667.

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