|This thesis analyzes the progression of average water use, water revenue, and the average cost of water supply for a moderately-sized municipality, the City of Santa Barbara, California, during an extreme drought event from 1987 to 1992. |
The 1987- 1992 drought was one of the most severe to strike the State of California this century. The study area was struck particularly hard. Prior to the drought, the City of Santa Barbara was solely dependent on local water sources to supply its water users. This made it particularly vulnerable to the recurrent droughts which are part of the regional climate. The 1987-1992 drought provided a rare opportunity to observe the sensitivity of municipal water use to pricing, conservation, and other water system management measures during extreme drought conditions.
The Renehan analysis indicates that the average cost of supplying water rose more than three-fold in real terms from 1986 to 1996. During the same period, the average price of a unit of water being paid by the water user was at all times below the average cost to the water supplier to produce a unit of water. Per-capita water use during the height of the drought dropped to 48% that of pre-drought per-capita water use. In 1996, per-capita water use had only risen to 64% of the pre-drought level.
Also see: http://www.kysq.org/docs/JAWWA97.pdf