U.S. Water News Online
ALBUQUERQUE -- Albuquerque used less water in 2003 despite
warmer-than-normal weather, marking the third year in a row that the
city has reduced its water use.
``Albuquerqueans are just doing a better job,'' Mayor Martin
Chavez said. ``People are being very conservative with their water.''
The 2003 drop pushed water production in New Mexico's largest city
to its lowest level in more than a decade. The city utility pumped
34.7 billion gallons in 2003, down from 34.9 billion in 2002 and the
lowest since at least 1990 despite a growing number of customers.
The utility supplies water to 490,000 people.
However, a river advocacy group said the city still is overpumping
the aquifer and should continue to push conservation.
``Compared to what we are really capable of ... what we're
conserving is just a little puddle and just doesn't amount to very
much,'' said Deborah Hibbard of Rio Grande Restoration.
Albuquerque began a conservation program in 1995 to cut the
depletion of the aquifer. At the current rate of growth, Albuquerque
will be out of problem-free groundwater in about 25 years unless
depletion stops, city officials have said.
2003 was the third-warmest year in more than a century of
``It was a hard year to make further progress, and we made
progress,'' City Councilor Martin Heinrich said. ``That bodes well
for how seriously everyone is taking this.''
Chavez attributes the drop in water use to increased education and
conservation incentive programs.
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