Summer on the Carmel River
The June residential use figures for cities and water districts around the state are out and the Monterey Peninsula has little to be proud of. A whopping 56 California communities did better than the Monterey Peninsula at residential water conservation in June, making a mockery of local officials’ oft repeated claims that the Peninsula is the state’s water conservation leader.
Monterey Peninsula residents used 66.1 gallons per person per day in June, dropping the Peninsula into a 57th place tie with Morro Bay. In May, Peninsula residents used 58.8 gallons per person per day and came in 48th. In April it was 55.8 gallons and 29th place.
It’s understandable that residents of the Monterey Peninsula, burdened by so many lavishly watered estates, would have a hard time using less water than places like San Francisco, San Diego, Inglewood and Compton, but how do we explain using almost four gallons more per person per day than a place like Burlingame; a wealthy Silicon Valley bedroom community where the median family income is $113,440, the climate is hotter and drier, and extensively landscaped properties abound?
The best performance in June was turned in by the Southern California city of Lynwood, where residents used only 35.3 gallons per person per day. Second place went to our own neighbor to the south, Cambria, where figure was 37.1. Santa Cruz was, once again, the best of the Monterey Bay area, at 42.7, and King City was, once again, the Monterey County leader, at 48.8.
Given our increasingly urgent need to impress the State Water Resources Control Board with the Peninsula’s seriousness about reducing its illegal pumping of the Carmel River, it’s too bad local officials aren’t doing more to make conservation a priority. Empty words about our water conservation leadership aren’t likely to impress a Water Board that now tracks and publishes the cold, hard facts on a month by month basis.