1n 1993, the East Wenatchee domestic water system delivered 1 billion, 18 million gallons of water to about 15,000 people.
The figure could have been higher, but some people in East Wenatchee irrigate their yards with ditch delivered irrigation district water. The figure could have been lower, except for my teen-age son, who takes long showers.
So, the per capita use of water in that one comunity was about 1,201,200 gallons.
At least in that community, the average person uses each year about the amount of water needed to irrigate 1 to 1.2 acres of orchard.
Each time we take out an acre of orchard and replace it with five houses (or more), we trade about 1,000,000 gallons of water use for about 20,000,000 gallons of water use per year on that land. a net increase of .....hmmm, let's see now.......19,000,000 gallons.
Ag is a large water user, but the alternative ain't much improvement.
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Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, Washington State University,1100 N Western Ave., Wenatchee, WA, 98801 USA
Wenatchee WA, 1 November 1995