Conservation Progress

Since the 1980's, El Pasoans have cut per-person water consumption by more than 30 percent. In addition to conservation education programs, El Paso Water introduced several major initiatives:

  • Incentives and rebates to change how we use water
  • Water Conservation Ordinance to reduce outdoor water use
  • Leak detection systems to reduce water loss from water main breaks

conservation graph

Note: Due to the pandemic, EPWater saw an increase in consumption. With more people at home, there was more gardening, dish washing and cooking that contributed to increased water use.

Incentives and Rebates 

Over the years, the utility has provided a variety of conservation incentive programs. Currently we have the Cash for Your Commode Rebate Program.

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.

15,110 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.

Leak Detection

Across El Paso, the utility has installed high-tech leak detection acoustic tools that "listen" for water main breaks. The tools cross-coordinate with each other to pinpoint exact locations of leaks in smaller diameter pipes. Noise level changes associated with leaking pipes are detected by the listening devices. These warning systems help EPWater proactively fix a leak before it becomes a break. This technology helps EPWater save thousands of gallons of water every day.


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