ALBUQUERQUE BERNALILLO COUNTY WATER UTILITY AUTHORITY (ABCWUA) RESPONSE TO DROUGHT.

ABCWUA has accomplished this by an education campaign combined with the promotion of low flow shower heads and low flush toilets. Rebates were offered which are now phased out.

At the same time, ABCWUA has aimed to decrease outdoor use of water. ABCWUA began publishing a colorful 50-page guide called “Xeriscaping: The Complete How-To Guide.” The free guide covers drip irrigation, mulching, and more xeric types of trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, and groundcovers. Rebates for certain types of trees are still being offered. Currently, 62% of the water processed by ABCWUA goes to indoor use and 38% to outdoor uses.

In 2016, ABCWUA wrote a 100-year plan, ‘Securing our Water Future,’ also known as the 2120 Plan. A new goal was set of 110 gpp, pd by 2037. In order to accomplish this, they have been emphasizing ways to decrease outdoor usage. ABCWUA now has a monthly garden newsletter, Water Smart workshops online, and efficiency initiatives, including promotion of organic groundcovers. Some of these approaches have rebates. The Water Action Plan (https://www.abcwua.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/wqppap.pdf) is reviewed annually and updated every 10 years and is probably the best source of any current information.

ABCWUA is also using new technology to recharge the aquifer. Thirty percent of the groundwater pumped from the aquifer is being returned as treated wastewater. A pilot project is underway using treated wastewater on some landscaping in parks and a golf course.

ABCWUA has a Governing Board made up of elected members from the city council and county commission that meets monthly. There is no requirement for members to have knowledge about climate or hydrology. The Governing Board has two advisory boards: the Water Protection Advisory Board is tasked with issues around the quality of our water; the Technical Customer Advisory Committee solicits advice and recommendations from customers.

The Governing Board has the responsibility to declare various levels of drought which will then initiate changes in ABCWUA policies. So far, no declaration of drought has been made.

The ABCWUA publishes updates to its 2120 Water Conservation Plan. The updates are required every 10 years and reviewed annually. On the same webpage, you can sign up for the Water Conservation monthly newsletter.

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