by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--So, who's using the most water? The answer might surprise you. Most often, it's your neighbor down the block.
City officials say the top 10 list is pretty much the same every year. The only thing that changes is where the businesses rank.
The message they want to drive home, especially now, in the midst of water restrictions is, John Q. Public is as much to blame, if not more so, then big business.
"It's me at home. It's you at home. We are using more water, cumulatively, than those businesses are," Andrea Goodson, Public Information Officer for the City of Odessa, said.
It's not a top 10 list you normally want to be a part of. ECISD, the City of Odessa, Medical Center Hospital and Ector County, are just four on the list of the top 10 water consumers in Odessa and they have been for the last three years.
"They know this. They've been contacted by the city. They know they're in the top 10. They're not doing anything more than what they did before. In fact, they might be doing a whole lot less," Goodson explained.
By comparison, from 2009 and the first five months of 2011, the top two, ECISD and the City of Odessa have actually cut their water usage significantly, the city by 27% and the school district by a whopping 63%. But, when it comes to single family residences, the gallons keep adding up.
According to Goodson, "Residential usage, for a total of five months, January to May of 2011 was 1,407,675,000 gallons, just by residential usage alone."
Odessa residents aren't too thrilled with the latest round of water restrictions handed down by the city. Many say they feel they are being punished for what the businesses are doing. City officials say, nothing could be further from the truth.
"If you look at these numbers, no, residents, you're the largest consumers of water. So we need to cut down on our usage more so than those businesses because they're businesses. They're in it to make money, to make a profit. They're being as efficient as they can. Homeowners need to do the same thing," Goodson said.
The bottom line is, the lack of rain is seriously affecting the water supply. If present circumstances had happened a few months earlier, things could have been much worse.
Goodson says, aside from being water wise, is keep hoping and praying for rain, "It's going to take a lot of rain in the right place for a long time. If it's not over Lake Ivey, it's not helping our situation in the long run."
With triple digit heat forecasted to stick around for a while and little relief in sight, folks with above ground, inflatable pools and slip and slides in their yard are safe for now. The Odessa City Council has allowed them to be exempt from the restrictions list.