Residential water cost: San Diego 65% Higher than San Antonio

Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters Undesignated 18 Comments


I’ve been harping on the high cost of electricity in California, a concern to us all — especially compared to other states — and ESPECIALLY compared to our hated rival Texas.  But that’s not the ONLY utility comparison that should concern us.

By chance I came across a residential water rate calculator for San Antonio — the most drought-stricken city in a field of 225.  I recently wrote a piece about their remarkable water improvement projects vs. parched Los Angeles, so this all ties together!

I took my current July-August (1914) San Diego city water bill and ran my usage (237 gal/day — 46.9% lower than last year’s usage) and other variables through the San Antonio residential water bill calculator.

The results (including ALL fees and costs):

San Diego 2 month cost    — $197.91

San Antonio 2 month cost  — $119.94

BOTTOM LINE:  For the same amount of water, San Diego costs residents 65.0% more than San Antonio.  Or, to adopt HQ’s clever turn of phrase that can exaggerate the differential, “For the same amount of water, I pay 165% of what I would pay in San Antonio.”

The fun never stops.


Comments 18

  1. OK. We get it. According to Richard, Texas in the middle of a tornado (and they get quite a few) is a much better place to live than California on a sunny day (almost every day). Well, here are a few energy facts that you will never hear from Mr. Rider:

    1. Excluding federal offshore areas, California ranked third in the nation in crude oil production in 2013.

    2. California also ranked third in the nation in refining capacity as of January 2014, with a combined capacity of almost 2 million barrels per calendar day from its 18 operable refineries.

    3. In 2012, California’s per capita energy consumption ranked 49th in the nation; the state’s low use of energy was due in part to its mild climate and its energy efficiency programs.

    4. In 2013, California ranked fourth in the nation in conventional hydroelectric generation, second in net electricity generation from other renewable energy resources, and first as a producer of electricity from geothermal energy.

    5. In 2013, California ranked 15th in net electricity generation from nuclear power even after one of its two nuclear plants was taken out of service in January 2012.

    6. Average site electricity consumption in California homes is among the lowest in the nation (6.9 megawatt-hours per year), according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

    Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (

  2. Broad based job growth continued in San Diego County in August, with the unemployment rate falling to 6.2 percent despite thousands of people re-joining the labor force.

    Last month, county employers added a net 3,500 people to payrolls, with the unemployment rate falling from 6.6 percent in July, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday. The August job growth continued the momentum that has been building over the last year, as county payroll employment is growing at a pace faster than both the state and the nation.

    The annual growth is coming in fields that bode well for the general economy, with thousands of new jobs in the high paying professional and scientific industry as well as the construction field, which creates opportunities for the middle class.

    Source: UT San Diego

  3. Well if the post had anything to do with the quantity of oil production, I’m sure Mr. Rider would have mentioned those facts.

    He didn’t mention the price of beans in China either. Why didn’t you call him out on that?

  4. W.C.,

    Re-read Richard’s opening paragraph or his many other posts claiming how much better everything is in Texas because everything in California s…s.

  5. Post

    HQ, there you go again. Knocking down straw men you first erected. Where did I claim “how much better everything is in Texas”??

    There’s many things wrong with Texas. They have much more humidity, higher summer temperatures, and awful bugs. The Gulf surf is weak compared to California (though the water is warmer) and only a tiny fraction of the populace lives near the beach. No mountains, no skiing, and few lakes can be found in Texas. Little hydroelectric power. California has no tornadoes like Texas (but Texans don’t worry about “the big one”). Plus, Texans talk funny. Yes, there’s MUCH wrong with Texas compared with California.

    But that’s the amazing aspect — in SPITE of the many natural advantages California has over Texas, the migration patterns tell us that a lot more people and businesses move from California to Texas than from from Texas to California. Certainly they are not flocking to Texas for the climate! Obviously the economics of Texas have to be MUCH better than California to entice people to leave the Golden State.

    By most economic measurements, Texas kicks California’s ass. THOSE are the factors I look at. And whenever possible I look at the WHOLE state, rather than a one month’s employment report for one city in the entire state of California — as HQ has done here. Plus, HQ presents San Diego stats without comparing it to an above average city in Texas, or the whole state. That’s weak, HQ.

  6. Post

    When it comes to oil production, HQ, you are using point in time “analysis,” rather than looking at the TREND. You can do better (if you want to be fair). But I’m not surprised by your misrepresentation.

    Compare the HISTORY of oil production in the two states. From 1985 to 2013, California oil production has fallen almost in half (49.7%) as we “go Green.” Our current oil production is essentially flat.

    During that same time frame, Texas oil production has RISEN 6.8% and is rising rapidly after dropping for a couple decades. Indeed, Texas oil production has more than doubled in the last five years!

    And look at the VOLUME. 2013 Texas oil production is 4.48 times higher than California! Yet California has roughly 45% more people than Texas.

    Is it any surprise we pay over 14% more than Texas consumers for our gasoline (even before “cap and trade” kicks in in our state starting in January)?

  7. Post

    HQ, it’s no surprise that our energy consumption is lower than other states. Two main factors:

    1. Our mild climate requires less heating and air conditioning for the bulk of our population living relatively close to the coast. On that we can agree.

    2. We’ve driven much manufacturing out of our state, with very few new industrial ventures coming to California. The new “green” policies in action!

    From 2007 through 2010, 10,763 manufacturing facilities were built or expanded across the country — but only 176 of those were in CA. So with roughly 12% of the nation’s population, CA got 1.6% of the built or expanded manufacturing facilities. Stated differently, adjusted for population, the other 49 states averaged 8.4 times more manufacturing growth than did California. — prepared by California Manufacturers and Technology Association

  8. Post

    HQ, rather than presenting San Diego as representative of California employment experience, why don’t you use the whole state’s figures? Well, I guess we both know the answer to THAT question, don’t we?

    Allow me to “help” you in this matter. New figures as of Friday:

    CA is tied for the 5th worst state unemployment rate (August, 2014) – 7.4%. National unemployment rate 6.1%. National unemployment rate not including CA is 5.9%, making the CA unemployment rate 24.9% higher than the average of the other 49 states. (Sadly, one of the better performances we’ve managed in several years – we were at 4.8% in Nov, 2006 – vs. national 4.6%).

    Using the average mid-2014 U-6 measure of unemployment (includes involuntary part-time workers), CA is tied for worst with Nevada at 16.2% vs. national 12.9%. National U-6 not including CA is 12.5%, making CA’s U-6 30.1% higher than the average of the other 49 states.

    The Texas unemployment rate for August is 5.3%. That makes the California 7.4% rate 39.6% higher than Texas. But what makes that difference particularly impressive is that Texas is taking in economic refugees from around the nation (while California is losing such refugees) — yet Texas still clobbers California when it comes to employment opportunities.

  9. Richard,

    Let me answer your four posts succinctly: It is a cycle not a trend. We are coming off the worst recession of our lifetimes and the only industry that thrived these past 5-6 years was the oil industry so of course, Texas’ economy has outperformed. As I wrote in a previous post, I will still bet on California’s diverse economy over time.

    More to the point, Texas has just over 261,000 square miles of land, virtually all habitable while California has just over 155,000 square miles of land, also virtually all habitable. Using your method of calculation (I don’t want to be accused of exaggerating), this means Texas is almost 70% larger than California. Despite this fact, California has almost 50% more people (38 million vs. 26 million) and more than 50% more businesses (3.4 million vs. 2.2 million). (change state for Texas)

    There really is no contest when it comes to where people want to live and businesses want to be.

  10. Way to change the subject again!

    Obviously, unemployment rates are highly cyclical.

    We’re talking about how businesses and the middle class are leaving California. Take a look at the unbroken 20+ year trend of IRS data in the links I posted.

  11. W.C.,

    In this case it would be you who is changing the subject. My comment about “a cycle, not a trend” was in direct response to Richard Rider’s comment about California’s unemployment rate.

    I also added the yet unanswered point that California has 50% more population than Texas and 50% more businesses than Texas despite the fact that California is barely half the size of Texas. How do you reconcile these facts with claims that Texas is a better place to live and run a business?

    As for your link, I am not sure who the author is or their methodology, but here is information directly from a government source. As you will see California’s GDP has risen steadily since 1993:


    Year GDP-CA (in $trillions)
    1993 0.864833
    1994 0.901368
    1995 0.953917
    1996 1.00897
    1997 1.08526
    1998 1.16043
    1999 1.26256
    2000 1.3823
    2001 1.39977
    2002 1.45045
    2003 1.53456
    2004 1.64298
    2005 1.75987
    2006 1.86631
    2007 1.94906
    2008 1.97811
    2009 1.90638
    2010 1.95341
    2011 2.03047
    2012 2.12572
    2013 2.20268

  12. Post

    Yes, HQ, unemployment is cyclical. But gosh, you “forgot” to compare CA unemployment with the U.S. unemployment cycle. Oops.

    1994 6.1%
    1995 5.6
    1996 5.4
    1997 4.9
    1998 4.5
    1999 4.2
    2000 4.0
    2001 4.7
    2002 5.8
    2003 6.0
    2004 5.5
    2005 5.1
    2006 4.6
    2007 4.6
    2008 5.8
    2009 9.3
    2010 9.6
    2011 8.9
    2012 8.1
    2013 7.4

    United States Unemployment Rate 1920–2013 |

    California under Democrat control has had higher unemployment rates for decades, even though during this timeframe more than 3.5 MILLION people left California for other states. That’s a NET domestic migration figure.

    Moreover, since California has 1/8 of the entire country’s population, it should not be included in the national average when comparing unemployment with the other 49 states. Taking CA out of the national average drops the national average — more so in recent years as the spread between California and national unemployment rates has grown dramatically. I make that adjustment in my unemployment figures.

    It is interesting to note that the 2006 unemployment rate spread narrowed to only 0.3%. But since then California unemployment has zoomed up much more than the national figures. Currently the California unemployment is 24.9% higher than the average of the other 49 states (see my post above) — over 30% if we use the U-6 figures which include the involuntary part-time employees.

  13. Post

    HQ, you assert that “nearly all” of California and Texas are inhabitable. Really?? Is almost all of Nevada inhabitable too??

    What a bizarre assertion. Down right puzzling. Apparently you are running out of ammo.

    I would postulate that the inhabitability (and desirability) of an area is reflected in its current population density. A look at the the California density map below shows VAST stretches of our state (Well over 80%) with less than 50 people per square mile. Much is government land — but clearly the inland stretches are NOT desirable places to live.

    Similarly, most of Texas is all but uninhabitable — the entire western half of the state is sparsely populated.

    Moreover, the comparative land mass size is a strange argument on its face. Few really desire to live ANYWHERE in Texas (let alone MOVE to Texas) with its inhospitable features, but people do anyway for the economic benefits. Just as they LEAVE delightful California for the same economic reasons.

    BTW, most businesses are RETAIL businesses — providing goods and services to the local population. Hence one would expect that, if an area has a bigger population, it would have a commensurately larger number of businesses.

    Again, it’s the TREND that’s important — not point in time analysis. Consider this when touting the number of CA businesses:

    In 2012 (in the midst of the vaunted California “recovery”), our supply of businesses shrunk 5.2%. In ONE year. NOTE: That’s a NET figure – 5.2% fewer businesses in CA in 2012 than were here in 2011. Indeed, in 2012, CA lost businesses at a 67.7% higher rate than the 2nd worst state!

  14. Post

    There you go again, HQ — giving CA numbers without comparing them to Texas. In this case, lauding the history of California GDP growth from 1993 to 2013.

    Using the same source, I finished your work for this time frame:

    CA growth 254.7%
    TX growth 342.7%

    That “delta” is a LOT more than some rounding error.

    Note that these figures are not adjusted for inflation. Some of that “growth” is just inflation. During the 1993-2013 time frame, national inflation was 61.2%.

    Subtract that amount from the two figures, and the inflation-adjusted growth was as follows:
    CA 193.5%
    TX 281.5%

    Hence during HQ’s time frame, the Texas inflation-adjusted GDP grew 45.5% faster than the CA GDP. Again, oops.

  15. Post

    HQ, that “habitable land” comparison you made was laughable, but I return to it just for jollies. Is land “habitable” when it’s federal land? Not usually.

    Percent of state land owned by the feds:
    Texas 1.8%
    California 47.7% — pages 4 and 5

    And I’m willing to bet even money that a higher percentage of California is owned by the state than the percentage in Texas under state domain (didn’t bother looking it up).

  16. Richard,

    Thanks for the correction on my “habitable land” comparison. After removing the Federal land from the calculation, it is apparent that Texas has more than 3X (200% more) the habitable land that California has. And still, California has approximately 50% more people and 50% more businesses. Hmm.

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