Our History of Conservation

Since the 1980's, El Pasoans have cut per person water consumption by 30 percent.  This was accomplished through a combination of conservation programs that emphasized educational outreach to schools, incentives to change how we use water, and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with the city conservation ordinance.  

Conservation water consumption graph


Education Programs  
In 2007, El Paso Water opened the doors to the Carlos M. Ramirez TecH2O Water Resources Learning Center, which is co-located with the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant.  

The Center and its programs are a key focus of El Paso Water's conservation program following the rebate programs.  The Center offers visitors bilingual information and interactive exhibits to increase awareness of total water management in the Chihuahuan Desert.  These exhibits are designed to engage elementary and middle school students while providing valuable information for all ages.  

The Center staff is proactive in working with educators and providing teacher training's and in-classroom presentations.  The Center hosts conferences, workshops, seminars, and public events and school field trips.

Visit the TecH2O website to learn more.

Incentives and Rebates 
Over the years, the Utility has provided a variety of conservation incentive programs. Due to the huge response to the programs and the resulting decrease in consumption, the rebate programs ended in 2007.

Program Results
Turf Replacement Rebate paid customers for replacing established grass with low-water use landscaping            11 million square feet of turf was removed
Cash for your Commode offered an incentive to customers who replaced higher-flow toilets with low-flow models            53,700 toilets were replaced
Free low-flow showerheads were offered in collaboration with El Paso Electric 179,000 water-efficient showerheads were distributed
Clothes washing machine rebate was offered for those who moved to more water efficient models 14,000 high-water-use washing machines were replaced
Central refrigerated air system rebate was offered to those who switched from evaporative coolers that require much more water 10,300 refrigerated air units replaced evaporative coolers.

In 2010, in partnership with the City’s Sustainability Department and funded by a federal stimulus grant, the Utility brought back the Clothes Washing Machine Rebate.  The Utility processed a total of 1,110 washing machine rebates under this program.

In 2012, the Utility reintroduced a program to distribute free low-flow showerheads to its customers. More than 140,000 showerheads were distributed as part of this program.

Municipal Conservation Laws
In 1991, the City Council adopted the Water Conservation Ordinance which makes wasting water a violation.  The plumbing code was also changed to require the installation of low flow models for all new indoor plumbing fixtures, including showerheads, faucet aerators and toilets. The Water Conservation Ordinance specified watering restrictions by days f the week according to the odd/even addresses and seasonally by time of day.

In 1995, the city established landscape requirement for commercial properties, including water conservation restrictions and beautification guidelines.  Additional updates in 2001 prohibited sprinkler irrigated turf areas in parkways and added tougher enforcement language.  Landscape requirements for commercial properties found under Title 18 - Building and Construction, Chapter 18.46 Landscape and Chapter 18.47 Irrigation Systems.

 

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