“Our conclusion was that one strategy to try to reduce demand and promote conservation that would hopefully lead to a reduction in the overall cost of water is to put in place some sort of tiered structure,” he said. said Potter.
The researchers compared residential water consumption between 2009 and 2015, using monthly billing data from SAWS. They focused on single-family households, looking at the average gallons consumed per unit over a year. They looked at how usage has changed during the winter months, when water use is typically low, and during the summer months, the peak time for watering yards and filling pools. The researchers then averaged that usage over the entire six-year period to reach their conclusion.
Additionally, Potter and his co-researchers analyzed the characteristics of the dwellings they selected, using data from the Bexar County Assessment District. They looked at the size of the house lots, if they had pools, and the location of the units in the city. They found that newer homes with pools and higher assessment values tended to use more water, and they were also in census tracts associated with higher socioeconomic status, typically in the northern part of San Antonio near the 1604 loop.
Conversely, neighborhoods with lower socioeconomic status tend to have relatively low water consumption.
Potter said the result of the city’s growing population and the construction of new, larger homes in North San Antonio is greater demand for water, forcing SAWS to diversify its water supply by building new pipelines. . This has led to the rising cost of water.
“Increased water demand and disproportionate consumption of housing in some areas of the city owned by people with higher socio-economic status are what drive up the cost of water,” he said. declared.
Meanwhile, people who live in older neighborhoods with lower socioeconomic status aren’t using more water than they did 20 years ago, placing a disproportionate burden on those households, Potter said. They essentially subsidize access to large amounts of water for larger, wealthier households.