Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Water wasting fines, drought education and a robust monsoon season have helped reduce summer water use by about 600 million gallons compared with last year, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority announced Wednesday.
Carlos Bustos, the utility’s conservation program manager, said Albuquerque has “responded to the action call” of conserving water during drought.
“Things are improving,” Bustos said.
“ Nevertheless, we have to wait to see what happens this winter season in regards to drought. I don’t anticipate that we’ll be 100% out of these drought conditions for the rest of the year.”
Customer demand was 9.9 billion gallons from May 1 to July 31 this year.
That number was:
⋄ 10.5 billion gallons in 2020
⋄ 9.6 billion gallons in 2019
⋄ 10.3 billion gallons in 2018
The utility set Stage 1 drought restrictions in March.
About 25% of Bernalillo County at that time was experiencing exceptional drought, the National Drought Monitor’s most severe measurement of dry conditions.
The move doubled fines for wasting water and extended the water authority’s drought messaging program.
Customers who attend DroughtSmart classes earn a $20 water bill rebate under the drought measures.
Less than 1% of the county is currently in exceptional drought.
“We’re seeing a (water) savings response to the monsoon season,” Bustos said. “Whenever it rains, don’t water.”
The improved conditions, combined with decreased water use, have so far prevented the utility from implementing stricter water conservation rules.
Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.