Recently Ron Perry authored a letter (Nov. 17) complaining about the addition of 25,504 new housing units in Santa Clarita. He opined that because we’re in a drought, that we shouldn’t add the housing because more houses means more water use.
There are a couple problems with this thinking. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the state allocates 50% of its available water to the environment, 40% to agriculture and the remaining 10% is designated as urban, which is a mixture of residential and commercial usage.
We can deduce that residential water usage in California is somewhere around 5% of the total amount used. If this is true, and there is no reason to believe it’s not, then adding 25,000 new housing units to an inventory of 12 million housing units in California is literally less than a drop in the bucket.
The second and even bigger issue with the letter is that since water is fungible, we’re technically not adding any use since the people who are going to live in those houses came from somewhere and they used water in the place they came from. So if someone moves from there to here, less water is used there and more here. Since California is at best not adding any population and at worst losing some, there is no difference in statewide residential water consumption. If there is a difference because houses use more water than apartments, it’s a fraction of a fraction of a drop in the bucket difference.
Water scarcity is a red herring meant to cover for environmental NIMBY-ism that thrives in Santa Clarita. Private property owners have rights, too. Let them build!