U.S. Water News Online
ALBUQUERQUE -- People who want water with their meal in Albuquerque restaurants will have to ask for it in the future, and people who stay at a hotel for more than one night can tell the maid not to change the bed.
The Albuquerque city council voted 7-2 in favor of an ordinance aimed at conserving water. Motel and restaurant owners face fines of $20 for a first offense to $100 for third and subsequent offenses if they ignore it.
The ordinance would go into effect 10 days after being signed by Mayor Jim Baca, who proposed it. His spokesman, Brian Morris, said the ordinance was expected to be in effect by the end of December.
Jean Witherspoon, the city's water conservation officer, estimated Albuquerque will save at least 100 million gallons a year if hotels and motels skip washing towels and sheets once a week per room.
Albuquerque has 16,000 motel and hotel rooms, ``a lot of sheets to get washed every night,'' she said.
Maids won't send a wet towel to the laundry if a hotel guest hangs it back on the rack. They also won't change the bed linen if the guest puts a placard on the bed.
The provision that bans restaurants from serving water unless it's requested primarily will save water by reducing the number of glasses washed.
``The majority of water saved is not what's in the glass, it's what it takes to wash the glass,'' Witherspoon said.
No one spoke against the measure. A spokesman for the hotel industry said he supports it, although he disputed Witherspoon's estimate of the amount of water that will be saved.
Bob Dodson, executive director of the Greater Albuquerque
Innkeepers Association, said nearly all the estimated 75 hotels and
motels he represents already practice the water-saving measures
called for in the ordinance.
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