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 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 EPWater'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 trainings and in-classroom presentations.  The Center hosts conferences, workshops, seminars, 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 rebates were offered to 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 shower heads, faucet aerators and toilets. The Water Conservation Ordinance specified watering restrictions by days of the week according to the odd/even addresses and seasonally by time of day.

In 1995, the city established landscape requirements 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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