Inaccurate water-use projections can be costly. If water officials underestimate water needs, we’ll be rationing water. If water officials overestimate demand, we’re left paying for expensive projects we don’t need.
Looking into a crystal ball a decade ago, San Diego water officials expected dramatically rising demand for water. The region would be using 242 billion gallons of water a year by 2015, they thought.
They were wrong.
In reality, the recession hit and growth stalled. Droughts came and Californians learned to save water. San Diegans are using far less water than expected – just 176 billion gallons last year.
Demand will remain flat for the next five years and then grow only gradually, according to a draft of the San Diego County Water Authority’s latest long-term plan.
These Urban Water Management Plans must be updated every five years. They help determine if there’s enough water for new development and help decide which multimillion-dollar water projects customers will be asked to pay for next.