Drought is a common occurrence in New Mexico, but this year’s drought is exceptionally severe. The Middle Rio Grande Valley has been in severe drought for most of the past two years, and predictions are that the drought will continue through the summer. Even a normal amount of rainfall won’t be enough to bring us completely out of the drought. Click here for ideas to create low water landscaping.
The good news, though, is that customers of the Water Authority have done an exceptional job saving water for the past two years. 2012 was our lowest water use year ever; our gallons per capita per day water use (GPCD) dropped to 148! Thanks to everyone who has done their part. Please continue to do just what you’ve done for the past two years, and we will get through this drought without jeopardizing our long-term water supply.
Water Authority Repeals Drought Watch
Drought Advisory Still in Effect
ALBUQUERQUE, August 22, 2013— The Water Authority Board voted on August 21 to rescind the Drought Watch that it declared earlier in the year, meaning that fines for water waste will now return to normal. Under a Drought Watch fines for water waste are doubled, with the fee assessment for a first offense going from $20 to $40.
The vote came after Katherine Yuhas, Water Conservation Officer, reported that customers had reduced water use in response to drought communication efforts and the recent rains.
Overall water use for the year was down about a billion gallons compared to 2013, Yuhas told the Board. A relatively wet July—the ninth wettest on record for Albuquerque—helped keep water use in check.
"I'd like to thank our customers for doing so well in responding to the drought and for cutting back on their watering when it rained," Yuhas said. Yuhas said the Water Authority will continue to remind customers to be vigilant about their water use, as the service area remains under a Drought Advisory. Drought conditions are "extreme" as measured by the National Weather Service and other federal agencies.
"The recent rains have been very welcome, but drought conditions still persist," Yuhas said. "It's important for our customers to keep watering by the numbers, and ramp down to just two days per week in September."
WANT TO HELP US PREVENT WATER WASTE? CALL (505) 768-3640 to report water waste or click here to report online. We’ll need the date, time and location of the water waste. The reported water waste problem will then go into our route log. For instance, if a location is reported as wasting water at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, we’ll go back on a Tuesday at 3 a.m. to confirm the problem. Our inspectors work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the irrigation season. And, this year because of the drought, we are hiring additional inspectors!
GET A $20 WATER BILL CREDIT during the Drought Advisory. We are offering DroughtSmart Classes to teach our customers techniques for saving water during this difficult time. To make the class even more attractive, Water Authority customers who attend can receive a one-time $20 credit on their water bill. The classes last one hour and will be offered April through August. In addition, we will be teaching classes on drip irrigation, although these classes do not receive credits. Check here for a full schedule of classes.
Until 2008, all of our water came from the aquifer below us. But, starting in 2008 we began drinking surface water as part of the San Juan Chama Drinking Water Project. Now, we get about half our water from the aquifer and half from the Rio Grande. This project is helping us make our water supply sustainable.
The water for the San Juan Chama Drinking Water Project originates in the San Juan mountains in the Four Corners area, so drought in that part of the state affects how much surface water we will be able to use each year. Drought in the Middle Rio Grande Valley affects how much water our customers need to use. So, the weather in both of these areas impacts our water supply.
Click here to learn more about the San Juan Chama Drinking Water Project.
The Water Authority knows that our most important customers are the next generation. So, we’ve got lots of resources for them.
Watch our puppet show
We have presentations for all grade levels: pre-K through high school. Call our education specialist, Sharon Sivinski at (505) 768-3245 to schedule a presentation. We also offer tours of our Water Reclamation facility for students in fourth grade and up. Students have the opportunity to see up close how we treat water from the sewer system to make it clean and discharge it into the river. It’s an amazing process.
To play games, sing songs, watch videos, take a virtual tour of our plants and see all our education resources click here.
Contact Katherine Yuhas
Water Conservation Officer
The Water Conservation Hotline