The Water Efficiency strategy of the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by encouraging the community to conserve water in their homes and businesses. Clean water is an essential but limited resource that is expected to be strained even further through projected drought conditions in a changing climate. We can reduce GHGs and enhance our resilience by ensuring we all use water in the most efficient ways possible.
Implementation of water conservation measures is estimated to reduce GHG emissions by 712 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) by 2020 and 795 MTCO2e by 2030. Explore the sections below to learn about the City’s planned and ongoing actions to achieve these reductions.
Reduce Water Use
The City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) set a goal of reducing water consumption in Encinitas by approximately 5 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) by 2020 and another 2,400 acre-feet by 2030. This equates to a reduction of 258 million gallons by 2020 and 672 million gallons by 2030 from the CAP’s 2012 baseline. The energy used to treat and deliver water creates greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Reducing water use thereby reduces energy use.
The City’s two water districts—San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) and Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD)—regularly conduct water rate studies and adjust rates based on the cost to supply water and the cost of operations. It is anticipated that future water rate structures will incentivize residents to reduce water use. Both water districts also offer various public education programs to encourage water conservation efforts.
Encinitans will need to cut water use by an average of 5 gallons per day to meet the CAP’s water reduction goals. For context, standard shower heads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute and older toilets use as much as 6 gallons per flush. To reduce water use, consider decreasing outdoor irrigation, taking shorter showers, or investing in WaterSense products, like low-flow shower heads and toilets.
According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, Encinitas experienced an abnormally dry year in 2020. When conditions require a decrease in water use, Encinitans do a great job. In 2020, average water use by San Dieguito Water District (SDWD) customers was 133 gallons per capita per day (GPCD), which is a GPCD reduction of 14% from 2012. For Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD) customers, the average use was 129 GPCD, which is a GPCD reduction of 16% from 2012. (Note: OMWD’s service district also encompasses areas outside of the City of Encinitas.)
Our water use has varied over the years, but overall, Encinitas residents tend to use more than the average American. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the national average water use was 82 GPCD in 2015. Encinitas’ higher water use could be attributed to Southern California’s dry climate and the increased need for landscape irrigation. Outdoor irrigation accounts for over 50% of total residential water use in San Diego County.
GPCD values include all water rate classes (environment, agriculture, and urban) for SDWD and OMWD.