SAWS releases list of top summer commercial water users

All are employing conservation methods


SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Water System has released a list of its top five commercial water users for the period of May, June and July 2014 after a request from the KSAT 12 Defenders.

While this was a time when San Antonio was gripped by a relentless drought and water use was up, many commercial users showed they are conserving water.

The amusement park Fiesta Texas was fifth on the list. SAWS said the park used 37,102,767 gallons of water during that period.

However, a park spokesman said Fiesta Texas does try to save water and has put in drought-tolerant plants in landscaping projects. He said it also recycles water and even uses air conditioning condensate for fountains and cleaning.

No. 4 on the list is the University of Texas at San Antonio, using 37,756,608 gallons. UTSA Spokesman Joe Izbrand said that may be due to new athletic fields on campus.

He also noted that even with that amount of water use, consumption is below 2011 levels and that UTSA has won an award for water conservation.

CPS Energy's Calaveras Lake Power Plant came in at No. 3 and used 45,600,435 gallons during that period.

But CPS Energy Spokeswoman Christine Patmon said the fresh water usage could have been much higher if not for the utility's conservation efforts.

"The vast majority -- 99 percent of that water -- is recycled water," Patmon said. "We're doing a lot to conserve water these days."

She said the biggest water-saver may be the lakes used to cool the power plant that were put in in the 1950s.

"That led to saving over 330 billion gallons of aquifer drinking water since that time," Patmon said.

No. 2, at a usage of 51,645,832 gallons of water in May, June and July,was HEB's manufacturing location on Interstate 35. HEB Spokeswoman Dya Campos explained, however, that this is where they produce dairy, meat, snack and floral products and more.

No. 1 in terms of water use was Maxim Integrated Products on Westover Hills, at 56,370,084 gallons. The company manufactures a variety of electronic products and has also made efforts to conserve.

SAWS Conservation Director Karen Guz said many commercial users employ a variety of water saving techniques including using recycled water. She said that is because the water bill effects their profits.

"Half of our savings every year typically comes from our commercial and industrial customers," Guz said. "They step up in a big way every year and this year is no exception."

Guz said one example is the car wash that converted from a system that used 93 gallons of water per car to a system where 33 gallon is now used.

"It takes innovation and efficiency and our commercial and industrial customers do that," Guz said. "We want all of our customers to participate in water conservation."

She said SAWS works regularly with commercial customers to reduce water use just as it does with residential customers.