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Utility Reports a Slight Decline in Water Use

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Despite a growing population and a drought, Albuquerque used less water in 2011, according to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility’s annual state water accounting report.

The drop was tiny — less than 1 percent.

But with Albuquerque weathering one of its driest years in history in 2011, the consumption drop is significant, said Katherine Yuhas, head of the conservation program at the Water Utility.

“What we’re telling our customers is, ‘Wow, amazing job,’” Yuhas said Wednesday.

In its year-end report to the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, the Water Utility Authority reported using 33.8 billion gallons of water in 2011, down from 34 billion gallons in 2010.

Yuhas said she does not have firm population estimates yet, but preliminary numbers suggest that there were 620,000 people in the utility’s service area in 2011, up 14,000 from the year before.

The water utility continued its shift away from groundwater to the use of imported surface water in 2011, but the final numbers suggest that process is going more slowly than hoped.

Of the total used, 13.5 billion gallons came from the utility’s San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project, which treats and delivers water imported from the San Juan River Basin.

That is down from 13.9 billion gallons of San Juan-Chama project water used in 2010.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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