How much is water worth? For Starbucks, they are able to take $0.66 worth of Folsom Lake water and convert it into $11,668.80 dollars. The San Juan Water District, who treats and delivers drought depleted Folsom Lake water to residential and commercial customers, is asking homeowners to use less water and pay more for it while company’s like Starbucks generate handsome revenues from residential conservation. The current and proposed Stage 3 Water Warning rate structure continues to have residential customers pay more per unit than Starbucks and other commercial uses who use the water to create revenue and profits.
Stage 3 Water Warning for Folsom Lake consumers
At the April 23, 2014, San Juan Water District Board meeting, a Stage 3 Water Warning rate structure will be voted on by the elected Board members. The proposed rates will have residential customers paying $0.51 for the first 20 CCF* units of water in tier 1 and $0.85 per unit for any water consumed above 20 units. All Commercial and non-residential customers will pay a flat rate of $0.73 per unit. *1 CCF (Hundred Cubic Foot) of water is equivalent to 748 gallons.
Commercial San Juan Water District customer get cheap water
Retail customers of the SJWD pay virtually nothing for the water under the current metered rates. As a resident in the area and customer of the SJWD, what I object to that a commercial or non-residential consumer would ever pay less for a unit of water than a homeowner. Commercial interests in the SJWD use Folsom Lake water to generate revenue and profits. Homeowners use the same water to wash dishes, take a shower and flush the toilets.
Starbucks makes money from residential water conservation
There are several coffee houses such as Starbucks, Peet’s and Dutch Bros. Coffee that are consumers of Folsom Lake water from SJWD. A medium or Grande cup of Starbucks coffee contains 16 fluid ounces. With 128 ounces to the gallon, Starbucks is able to make 8 Grandes out of one gallon of Folsom Lake water. There are 748 gallons in one unit of water that is called a Hundred Cubic Feet or CCF. One unit of water will yield 5,984 cups of Grande coffee. At $1.95 per Grande, Starbucks realizes $11,668.80 of revenue from a unit of water that they paid $0.66 under the existing rate structure and $0.73 under the proposed rated structure.
No conservation from commercial water customers
The SJWD is also asking all customers to conserve and additional 25% of their normal water usage under the Stage 3 Water Warning. Now a coffee place can do very little to conserve water when that is one of the main inputs of their product. Starbuck’s customers would be a little miffed to receive only 13 ounces of their 16 ounce Grande because they were asked to conserve water. In reality it is the residential water consumers that are being asked to conserve water so Starbucks can continue to realize over $11,000 in revenue per unit from their conservation efforts. What’s wrong with the picture? I’m being asked to cut back watering my garden or “forget to flush” the toilet just so Starbucks can make a buck?
Drought depleted Folsom Lake still profitable for business
If Starbucks, Peet’s and Dutch Bros. can make that sort of revenue from one unit of Folsom Lake water, they can afford to pay at least what residential customers are being asked to cough up for water from SJWD. No residential customer should ever pay more for a metered unit of water at any time during any billing cycle than a commercial customer that is generating revenue and profits from the use of the same water. It is just incredibly insulting that the SJWD would ask residential customers to sacrifice just so the commercial interests such as café’s, restaurants, golf courses and grocery stores won’t be inconvenienced by being asked to conserve or paying their fair share for the same water.
Residential rates should never be higher than commercial rates
If the commercial and non-residential consumers continue to receive discounted water courtesy of the residential rate payers, the least us homeowners should get is a discount on our coffee purchases and free admittance to the golf courses, both public and private. But the simple solution is to have all consumers of Folsom Lake Water pay the same rates that increase with usage. The SJWD needs to stop balancing their budget on the backs of the residential rate payers in the district.