How California Cities Use Water

Ever wonder how much cities use on domestic use vs. industry vs. landscaping? Okay, maybe not, but this interactive looks at how cities use water, as a distribution across various uses. This simple chart, based on one of Mike Bostock's d3 examples, can be seen here.

California water use by sector

This is a simple breakdown of data provided by urban areas in California to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) as part of their requirements to prepare Urban Water Management Plans. I used some of this data to make the Thirsty Cities tool, which only reflects per capita water use, while this interactive chart displays the relative proportion of various water uses (i.e. residential, industrial, landscaping). A copy of the spreadsheet from DWR containing this data is available here.

I didn't spend too much time on this since a lot of the underlying data is pretty questionable and seems fairly inconsistent. For example, Santa Clara County supposedly used 92.1% of its 332,900 acre feet for 'Other' uses. Similarly, 40% of Anaheim's 62,199 acre feet went to this undefined 'Other' use - maybe it's for Disneyland's Splash Mountain?

I did find it interesting to see which cities were using a large portion of their allotment on landscaping, with Irvine Ranch, Trabuco Canyon, and Coachella Valley taking the top spots. As expected, many hot suburban areas are using a lot of water to green up the place. The bar charts are sorted not by total water use for the selected sector (i.e. industrial, agriculture, landscaping), but by what proportion those cities use water from the selected sector. If you hover over the bars though, you can see how much total water the cities or water districts used.

A total of 190 cities and water districts are represented here, and I only display the top 50 for each category. Not sure why more communities aren't represented, though hopefully this will improve over time. I know, for instance, that my hometown of Redding prepared a Urban Water Management Plan in 2010, though none of the data was included in the spreadsheets provided by DWR.