No Rain, Some Pain (and Free Stuff!)

Last night ABCWUA’s board approved the city’s new Drought Management Strategy.  Haven’t been reading the flyers wrapped around your water bills?  You might want to have a look at this before the numbers ON your bill snap you to attention.

It’s a plan written with lots of public input, according to Conservation Officer Katherine Yuhas.  And it goes a little something like this.  A one, a two, a one, two, three…

STAGE 1: Drought Warning

  • Public education campaign means MORE flyers with your bill
  • Double fines for wasting water
  • Get $20 for taking a Drought Smart class (Yuhas says Albuquerque is alone in offering positive incentives for saving water–you’ll see one at each level)

STAGE 2: Drought Watch

  • Double surcharges (ouch!) imposed when your summer water use reaches levels that are 2, 3, or 4 times higher than your winter use
  • Water by Numbers becomes mandatory
  • Change in time of water restrictions from 11-7 to 9-9…and no variances for people crazy enough to be planting new sod, etc
  • Distribution of low-flow showerheads (nice! Those things can be expensive)

STAGE 3: Drought Emergency

  • Triple surcharges
  • Now- mandatory Water by Numbers reduced by one day/week
  • 20% water reduction rebate.

In case you’re wondering how these stages are decided… it’s a combination of two things: how well customers are doing at reducing use below expected averages (ie, good behavior means we don’t jump to the next stage as quickly) and how much the city is having to draw on the aquifer.

The adopted plan, though, is stricter than it has been in the past.  For example, in 2011 we never got past a drought advisory.  The same conditions this year would put us in Stage 1.

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