El Paso Zoo named 2019 Conservation Hero

El Paso Zoo named 2019 Conservation Hero
Posted on 05/13/2019
At the bottom of the second inning, EPWater President and CEO John Balliew presented Interim Zoo Director Leonor Wilson the 2019 Conservation Hero award.

Conservation is king at the El Paso Zoo. For years, the zoo has been laying the groundwork for its ecofriendly environment, such as skipping the straw and lid at concession stands, minimizing the use of plastic and encouraging recyclable water bottles.

For exhibiting best practices in water efficiency, El Paso Water recognized the El Paso Zoo as the 2019 Conservation Hero at the El Paso Chihuahuas baseball game May 10. EPWater President and CEO John Balliew presented the award to Interim Zoo Director Leonor Wilson and her staff during the game.

“This is quite an honor for the zoo to be recognized as a Conservation Hero,” Wilson said. “We do our best to inspire people to adopt ways to preserve our natural resources. The zoo took the right steps by installing low-flow toilets, metered sinks and using reclaimed water for irrigation.”

Green practices

As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the El Paso Zoo is committed to their role as conservation leaders and careful stewards of natural resources. Responsible water usage and management comes with the territory when greening your business practices, Wilson said.

By taking steps such as selling water in box containers, eliminating plastic in their gift shop and using reclaimed water in their moats, the zoo is taking every opportunity available to be part of the solution for habitat and resource conservation, Wilson said.

EPWater was invited by the City of El Paso to audit hundreds of its facilities for best practices in water efficiency and to make recommendations for water savings. Of all the facilities audited in 2018, the zoo scored highest, which earned them 2019’s Conservation Hero distinction.

In addition to the zoo, four libraries, six police department facilities and 17 fire stations and fire facilities received recognition as Certified Water Partners for demonstrating best practices.

Minimizing water use

El Paso Water and the El Paso Chihuahuas produced a video to illustrate the El Paso Zoo’s efforts to conserve water.Over the past 27 years, water conservation has been a priority for EPWater, and as a result the utility seen total water usage per person decline by 35 percent over the past two decades.

EPWater’s past conservation programs were aimed at residential homeowners. Now, EPWater is placing more emphasis on commercial and institutional water-efficiency improvements.

Of all nonresidential water use, public institutions make up 10 percent of accounts but use 21% of water.
“We need all our public facilities to be as diligent in water use as the zoo,” said Anai Padilla, EPWater Conservation Manager.

For more on the Community Certified Water Partner program, click here.

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