Water Authority Urges Residents to Conserve During Drought
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – May 31, 2013 – With exceptional drought still gripping central New Mexico, the Water Authority is reminding customers that it’s more important than ever to “Water by the Numbers” and limit watering to just three days per week in June.
Under the Water by the Numbers program, customers are advised to water one day per week in March, two days per week in April and May, three days per week in June, July and August, and then ramp down again in the fall.
“We have held the line on water use this spring and we’re asking our customers to keep up the good work this summer,” said Katherine Yuhas, conservation officer for the Water Authority. “Following the Water by the Numbers program is one of the best things you can do to save water during the ongoing drought.”
The Albuquerque area is in the third year of a drought that saw just 4.2 inches of rain in 2011 and 5.5 inches in 2012. So far this year, Albuquerque has received less than an inch of rain.
For more information on the drought and for water-saving tips, visit www.itsadrought.com
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.