EPWater celebrates 30 Years of Conservation

EPWater celebrates 30 Years of Conservation
Posted on 04/02/2021
30 years of conservation logo

This year marks a huge milestone for El Paso Water – 30 years of conservation. El Paso’s Water Conservation Ordinance was implemented on April 1, 1991. The ordinance, along with El Paso Water’s conservation program have helped reduce water consumption by more than 30 percent over the last three decades.

EPWater employees recognize that customers have played a major role in the utility’s conservation goals by embracing conservation efforts at home.

“I think it is important to continue our water conservation message because it has become a way of life for many of us,” said Anai Padilla, TecH2O and Water Conservation Manager.  “Water conservation efforts by El Paso Water have helped create a culture of conservation in the desert.”

Before the ordinance was approved, El Pasoans were using 200 gallons of water daily. “That is a large number when you picture the number of jugs it would take to equal 200 gallons,” said John Balliew, EPWater President and CEO. “The goal was to bring that number down through our water conservation program.”

Incentives and rebates

30 year conservation logoBetween 1991 and 2007, EPWater offered several customer incentive programs like the toilet rebate and showerhead giveaways that saved 3.65 billion gallons of water per year. A turf rebate helped introduce xeriscaping and encouraged residents to use native plants for their landscape.

“The response was tremendous,” said Marcela Navarrete, Vice President of Strategic, Financial and Management Services. “It showed that we were taking conservation seriously and we put our money where our mouth was.”

A new rate structure also encouraged customers to reduce water use because the more water they use, the more customers pay. “The rate structure we implemented has been a huge part of the success of our water conservation,” said Navarrete.

Water education and outreach

EPWater set out to show the community the value of water in our area through education and outreach and the best place to start was in local classrooms. “The kids we were teaching in the 1990s are now customers who are aware about the importance of conserving water,” said Padilla.

The utility’s mascot, Willie the Waterdrop, has been a useful tool to teach our younger generations about conservation. “Everyone loves seeing Willie, he is a wonderful ambassador,” said Padilla.

El Paso Water officially opened the Carlos M. Ramirez TecH2O Water Resources Learning Center in 2008, a facility with interactive museum-quality water exhibits, a lecture hall and classrooms. In non-COVID times, the Center welcomes 10,000 adults and children every year to learn how water is managed in the Chihuahuan Desert and why water conservation is so important.

As EPWater looks to the future to secure water sustainability, it is encouraging customers to continue conservation efforts. “Our goal today is to decrease the amount of water each person uses daily to 118 GPCD by 2030,” said John Balliew, EPWater President and CEO. “It is a significant journey, but it’s not impossible to get there.”

For more information on ways save water, visit epwater.org/conservation.

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