Residents of Santa Cruz were notified of a Stage 1 water shortage earlier this month after a lack of rainfall through the winter and spring rain seasons. The water shortage rate adjustments will go into effect beginning with the June water bill. Households are encouraged to visit their online portal and confirm the people reported within the household is correct, resulting in the proper allotment of water per residence.

Under the Stage 1 Warning, each account will receive an allotment of 5 CCF per month per dwelling unit for an assumed household of 3 people. 1 CCF = 748 gallons = 1 billing unit.

This would result in a household of 3 people having an allotment of 3,725 gallons per month before the next tier of charges drastically increases the rate for water usage.

3,725 gallons may seem like a lot of water, and it is, but it is significantly higher than what the average person/household is accustomed to using. Estimates vary, but the USGS reports an average usage per person in the 80-100 gallon per day range. 3,725 gallons for a household of 3 only allows 41 gallons per day, per person. Cutting your water consumption in half is near impossible if you are simply receiving a bill at the end of the month and attempting to adjust based on the CCF units. The chances of a household making it into the next tier are higher than one might think.

Santa Cruz is not alone, cities across the country are facing drought conditions before summer has even started, reservoirs are well under where they were this time last year, and cities outside of California who are less familiar with drought conditions are finding themselves in a difficult position. All this coming at the tail end of the global COVID pandemic where housing and financial situations can be tense, we are on a collision course for a rude awakening.

Neighboring San Jose plans to raise water rates by up to 9.6% each year for the next eight years according to Mercury News. These rate increases are in addition to the other rate increases already imposed by the individual water retailers. Homes that are accustomed to low water bills should expect to see large jumps as they begin to place in the higher usage (and higher cost) tiers.

Most US residents have grown to expect clean water to be available whenever they turn on the tap, but what happens when the reservoirs do run dry? How are we to know our usage, avoid these costly water bill increases, and act on an individual level to help conserve one of the planet’s most precious resources?

Peter Drucker’s famous quote “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” has been a central mission in the development of bluebot.

To improve our water situation as a population, we need the tools to measure our usage so we can begin to understand and reduce our consumption. Having real-time water data at your fingertips, available 24/7 is a revolutionary first step in improving the growing global water crisis. We are on a mission to make bluebot the most universal, easiest to install and use water monitor on the market, so that crucial water data becomes accessible for everyone.

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