As we detailed in a story last week, City Council President Scott Peters used more than 1 million gallons of water at his La Jolla home in 2007.

Peters, his wife and two children used as much water in 2007 as the households of Mayor Jerry Sanders, City Councilmen Kevin Faulconer, Brian Maienschein, Jim Madaffer, Ben Hueso and City Attorney Mike Aguirre combined.

A majority of the water used in Southern California is pumped south from Northern California and the Colorado River. It’s an energy-intensive process. To get water to Southern California from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, it must be pumped 1,900 feet over the Tehachapi Mountains. The California Energy Commission estimates that 6.5 percent of the all electricity used in the state is used to treat and deliver drinking water.

So the water that we use has an impact on climate change. The city of San Diego estimates that using 1 million gallons of water, as Peters does, releases about 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.

That’s as much carbon dioxide as is produced from a car burning 360 gallons of gasoline, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculator. Or about as much as would be released from cycling through 133 backyard barbecue propane tanks.

The typical San Diego home uses about 125,000 gallons of water — generating about 875 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of the carbon dioxide released from burning 45 gallons of gasoline.


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