ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Water Authority’s latest report showed record-low usage in the city last year but didn’t reveal how much water the average person uses every day in Albuquerque.
As it turns out, people are using far less water at home than they were just over two decades ago. “Native plants are great because they don’t require a lot of attention. They do well in our climate,” Max Havelka of Albuquerque said.
Landscaping is a hobby for Havelka in his xeriscaped yard in downtown near the Albuquerque Golf Course. “Though I like having a big, nice lawn, this, to me, is a whole lot more interesting,” Havelka explained. “You can have a great garden and yard and use very little water.”
The Water Authority said water conservation efforts like Havelka’s helped drop Albuquerque’s daily water totals in 2019.
Homes, businesses and government accounts used up 121 gallons per person a day. That’s 750 million gallons less than in 2018, according to the Water Authority.
The average person at home used an estimated 56 gallons a day.
“Our single-family residential went down one gallon per person per day from 2018 to 2019,” Water Authority Water Resources Division Manager Katherine Yuhas stated. “That is a fantastic number compared to other cities. If you look at other southwestern cities, our residential customers tend to come in just a little below.”
Additionally, people are using less than half the water they did 25 years ago, according to single-family residential records. Those totals reached 140 gallons per person a day.
The water authority says outreach effort over the years, including commercials urging people to limit how often they water their lawns, have made the difference. Plus, people took advantage of rebates, including a $100 credit on customers’ water bills if they replaced their toilet with a more efficient one.
Their goal is to cut city-wide water use by another 11 gallons per person a day by 2037.
“Small tweaks in efficiency, so we’re not looking for big changes the way we were back in the nineties,” Yuhas explained. “Now, we’re looking at things like: put in the right type of sprinkler head, tweak your irrigation system- take just a couple minutes off. See if it does just as well with 17 minutes instead of 20.”
“Albuquerque’s always been a leader and xeriscaping but it’s encouraging to know that it’s picking up,” Havelka added.
Of course, people use more water than their household totals because of their usage during their 8-hour workday. That adds to the city-wide daily totals.