U.S. Water News Online
ALBUQUERQUE -- Water conservation efforts and education are
paying off here.
The city, which has grown by 120,000 residents in the last 20
years, used less water last year than had been consumed in a year
The city also estimates that per-person water use is down to 177
gallons daily, according to figures that were released. That's just
short of Albuquerque's 10-year goal, which was to have reached 175
"We can do even better, but Albuquerqueans deserve a big, big pat
on the back," Mayor Martin Chavez said.
City officials say last year's conservation effort was helped by
unusually wet and cool weather. Albuquerque last year received 11.8
inches of precipitation compared with the usual 8 inches.
Overall, in 2004, the utility pumped about 32.6 billion gallons of
water, the lowest amount since 1985. Water use peaked in 1995 when
conservation was just getting started at 40.3 billion gallons.
Chavez said he plans to announce a series of new conservation
measures in coming weeks aimed at cutting the per-person water use.
City Councilor Eric Griego, a likely candidate for mayor, said
Chavez has been guilty in the past of "painting an overly rosy
picture of where we are."
The utility is still pumping more water out of the aquifer than is
being replenished and should do more to get city use down to 150
gallons a person daily, he said.
"We still have a long way to go, given that we're in a drought,"
Albuquerque launched its conservation program in 1995 after
federal studies showed that the city's underground water supply was
being depleted. The city-county water utility serves about 482,000
The utility expects by 2007 to start diverting river water to help
supply its customers. But the diversion will be limited to half of
what the city wants unless water use is cut to 175 gallons daily.
That condition was set by the state engineer.
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