U.S. Water News Online
LAS VEGAS, N.M. -- Las Vegas is launching water
conservation measures because water levels in the city's reservoirs
are down to 64 percent of capacity.
The city is restricting residents with odd-numbered addresses to
watering outdoors only on Tuesdays, while residents with
even-numbered addresses will be allowed to water only on Mondays.
The rules prohibit washing cars at home, and restrict car-washing
businesses to four days a week. Residents won't be allowed to fill
hot tubs or swimming pools, and may operate ornamental fountains only
if the fountains recirculate water.
Restaurants are banned from serving water to customers unless the
customer requests water -- a practice most Las Vegas eateries already
An ordinance approved in 2001 lets the city manager, in
consultation with city water officials, enact the Stage 2
Under the ordinance, first-time violators get a warning, along
with a copy of the conservation ordinance. Second-time violators can
be fined $125 to $150. Afterward, service can be terminated.
"It's time to raise the flag. Stage 2 prepares the community,"
said the city's utilities director, Richard Trujillo.
"It's a pretty strict ordinance," he said. "We're the only
municipality with such a rigid plan and violations."
The city could decide to move to Stage 3 restrictions in the
spring. Among other things, outdoor watering could be banned
altogether under Stage 3.
The state Supreme Court last year ruled the city was limited to
drawing 2,600 acre feet a year from the Gallinas River.
Last year, Las Vegas reached that limit at the start of December
and had to begin drawing its stored water. That reduced the reserves
for this year.
Trujillo said that when Stage 2 restrictions were in effect in
2003, residents reduced their consumption from the usual 2.4 million
gallons a day during the summer to 1.9 million gallons.
While conservation will help in the short run, Las Vegas is
working to acquire more water rights and storage for the future,
"Conservation will help you manage your water. It's not the answer
to the water problem. It just gives you time," he said.
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