Thursday, April 1 marks the 30th anniversary of the City of El Paso’s Water Conservation Ordinance and utility officials are marking the occasion with a look back and setting new goals for a sustainable water future for the region.
Utility officials share that both the ordinance and El Paso Water’s conservation program have helped to reduce El Paso’s water consumption by over 30 percent. Through outreach and education, rebates and incentives and a change in rate structure, EPWater has created a culture of conservation, but officials add that there is still work ahead.
“Our goal today is to decrease the amount of water each person uses daily to 118 GPCD by 2030,” said John Balliew, EPWater President and CEO. “It is a significant journey, but it’s not impossible to get there.”
In March of 1991, the El Paso City Council approved the Water Conservation Ordinance, and it was implemented on April 1. The ordinance allows for the enforcement of the even/odd address and time-of-day watering schedules, limits for at-home car washing and the requirements to repair leaks within five days and the installation of efficient plumbing fixtures.
Utility officials say that between 1991 and 2007, EPWater offered several customer incentive programs like the toilet rebate and showerhead giveaways that saved 3.65 billion gallons of water per year.
In 1995, the city established landscape requirements for commercial properties, including water conservation restrictions and beautification guidelines.
El Paso Water opened the Carlos M. Ramirez TecH2O Water Resources Learning Center in 2008, a facility with interactive museum-quality water exhibits, a lecture hall and classrooms. In non-COVID times, the Center welcomes 10,000 adults and children every year to learn how water is managed in the Chihuahuan Desert and why water conservation is so important.
“El Paso’s population is growing, and we need to continue our conservation efforts,” said Anai Padilla, TecH2O Center and Water Conservation Manager. “It’s important we continue the message that conservation is a way of life here.”
As for the community efforts, while EPWater works diligently to secure the city’s future water supply, the public is encouraged to continue conservation efforts and follow El Paso’s outdoor watering schedules:
- The year-round watering schedule allows EVEN numbered addresses to water Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays. ODD numbered addresses are allowed to water Wednesdays, Fridays, or Sundays.
- From April 1 through September 30, watering is only permitted before 10:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. on designated EVEN or ODD days.
For more information on the watering schedules and ways to tips save water, click here.