ALBUQUERQUE, NM – April 22, 2013 - The Water Authority unveiled its new green initiatives on Earth Day, highlighting a new southside nonpotable water re-use system, a new solar array, and upgrades to the community’s sewage treatment plant.
Officials dedicate the newSouthside Re-Use Project, which is now providing recycled wastewater for use on parks and large turf areas on Albuquerque’s southeast side.
“As stewards of our region’s most critical natural resource, the Water Authority takes very seriously its commitment to the environment,” said Mark Sanchez, Executive Director of the Water Authority. “Safeguarding our resources and the environment helps ensure our own futures as a utility as well as the future of our community.”
One of the major highlighted initiatives is the $31 million re-use system, where “polished” wastewater for the first time will be used this spring for irrigation of large turf areas on Albuquerque’s southeast side, including Bullhead Memorial Park. It’s just one phase of a larger plan that will see a re-use facility near the Bosque School on the west side that will serve facilities including Mariposa Recreational Complex and Ladera Golf Course.
“The Water Authority’s eventual goal is to save more than a billion gallons of drinking water each year through re-use,” said Water Authority Chairman Art De La Cruz.
Also unveiled for Earth Day was the Water Authority’s new solar array, which is expected to save some $750,000 in energy costs and will produce 10 – 20 percent of the sewage treatment plant’s overall needs. The array was built and financed by SunEdison Utility Solutions, which will sell power from the array back to the Water Authority at a discounted rate.
“It’s another example of how a ‘green’ initiative can make good business sense for everyone,” said Water Authority Vice Chair Rey Garduño.
Finally, the Water Authority showcased for Earth Day its ongoing effort to update the sewage treatment plant, which is undergoing $250 million in needed rehabilitation to ensure that the plant complies with EPA standards.
Time-of-Day Watering Restrictions Now in Effect
Water Waste Fines to Double
ALBUQUERQUE, April 1, 2013 – It may be April Fool’s Day, but time-of-day watering restrictions are no joke.
Beginning Monday, April 1, customers of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority are prohibited from using sprinkler irrigation between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Those who water during prohibited times face doubled water waste fines (see schedule below) for each violation because the service area is under an official Drought Watch. Fines are based on the number of violations received by the individual customer in the past five years.
Violation Doubled Fine Under Drought Watch
1st violation $40.00
2nd violation $100.00
3rd violation $200.00
4th violation $600.00
5th violation $800.00
6th violation $1,200.00
7th violation $1,600.00
8th violation $2,000.00
9th violation and beyond (per violation) $4,000.00
“The reason for this time-of-day restriction is that we want people to water when it will do the most good,” explained Katherine Yuhas, the Water Authority’s Conservation Officer. She said that when landscapes are watered during the hottest and windiest part of the day, only about half of the water actually reaches the ground. The other half evaporates.
“We continue to be in an extreme drought,” Yuhas said. “Since outdoor irrigation accounts for 40 percent of our overall water use, it is critical to ensure that we water efficiently and responsibly—and don’t waste any—during this challenging dry period.”
Forecasters predict that drought conditions for central New Mexico may continue through the entire summer.
During the previous fiscal year, the Water Authority assessed 225 violations for time-of-day watering restrictions, about one-fifth of the total number of violations assessed. Yuhas said she expects that number to increase in 2013 because the Water Authority has added several staff members to patrol the Albuquerque area 24/7 for water waste violations.
The Water Authority also assesses fines for other types of water waste, and recommends that businesses and residents take the following precautions:
• Make sure sprinklers are not overflowing or over spraying onto sidewalks, driveways and other hard surfaces;
• Check sprinklers to make sure they are working correctly. Property owners are required to repair malfunctions within 48 hours to avoid fines;
• Instead of washing your car at home, use a commercial car wash. If you do wash your car at home, use a shut-off nozzle and contain all water on your own property;
• Clean dry waste off sidewalks and driveways with a broom or power blower instead of a hose; and
• If you are draining a pool, spa or other water storage device, use the sanitary sewer cleanout. A cleanout is usually located within 10 feet of a typical home, between the building and the municipal sewer line.
“This year more than ever, it’s important for us to all do our part to save water,” Yuhas said. “ We encourage anyone who sees water waste in the community to call 768-3640 or report it online at www.abcwua.org. Also, we encourage everyone to visit our new website, www.itsadrought.com, for tips on dealing with the drought.”
Water conservation and rebate information are also available by calling 768-3655. Time-of-day watering restrictions will remain in effect until October 31, 2013.