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Top Hog!

San Diego By Night

The infamous water guzzler of Bel-Air who was vilified for weeks as the state’s biggest water hog (using 11.8 million gallons of water a year) has been surpassed!

U-T Watchdog surveyed San Diego County water districts for the 12 months ending Sept. 30 and found an even bigger water user in Rancho Santa Fe. The home’s 13.8 million gallons of water was enough to supply more than 110 typical single-family homes or fill 21 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Although prolific, the top user in Rancho Santa Fe notched a significant reduction in water use. In a similar survey required for district financial documents, the top residential customer used 31.7 million gallons in the 12 months that ended June 30, 2014. The second and third biggest residential customers used 20.2 million and 12.3 million, respectively.

The Santa Fe Irrigation District has been held up nationally before as an example of copious water use. Customers of the agency, which serves Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch and Solana Beach, were using an average 584 gallons per person per day — almost five times the average for coastal California — as of September, 2014, according to a state report released last year.

With some 7,000 service connections, the Santa Fe Irrigation District is tiny compared to the state’s largest water agencies, such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which serves some 700,000 connections.

Rancho Santa Fe resident Laurel Lemarié said lawns were more modest when she moved to the area in the mid-1970s. As more and more people from wetter parts of the country moved in, they brought with them different tastes. Over the years, culture shifted to favor the East Coast version of an estate with a dream home on an emerald lawn.

The San Diego Union Tribune article has a table of the number of gallons of water used and the number of dollars billed in a number of water districts in the area!

-Bill at

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