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Drought Stages

Stage 1

Stage 1 is used to prepare El Pasoans for an impending drought. EPWU will inform customers of the conditions and ask for a voluntary reduction in water usage.

Stage 1 response options are:

  1. A voluntary reduction goal of 25 percent in indoor and outdoor water use.
  2. Increased public education.
  3. Restaurants are requested to voluntarily discontinue serving water except upon request.
  4. Hotels and motels are urged to implement water conservation measures, including the reduction of laundry water usage.
  5. Manufacturing industries using water provided by El Paso Water Utilities are urged to decrease water consumption by 25 percent.
  6. All private well operators are urged to reduce water use by 25 percent.
  7. All other area water purveyors are requested to comply voluntarily with all drought management response measures. However, if wholesale water service contracts with these purveyors include specific drought or water emergency language, the contract supersedes this Drought and Water Emergency Management Response Plan.
  8. The General Manager shall authorize additional personnel to issue citations for violations of the Water Conservation Ordinance and the Drought and Water Emergency Management Response Plan, consistent with Civil Service rules.

Any of the above measures may be implemented as warranted.

Stage 2

All Stage 1 response options remain in effect. Additionally:

  1. Outdoor watering will be limited to once per week as per the following schedule. Watering will occur before 9:00 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m. and shall be limited to two hours per day. The last number of the street address shall determine watering days.

    Watering Schedule:

    Day Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
    Last # of address - 0 1,3 2,4 5 6,8 7,9
    (Outdoor watering performed with a permanent drip irrigation system, sub-surface irrigation, or reclaimed water is exempt. Using a bucket to water trees, shrubs and flowers is permitted. Using household greywater is encouraged.)
  2. Parks and schools served by El Paso Water Utilities shall water in accordance with a special permit issued by El Paso Water Utilities and will reduce consumption by a specific amount per month based on reduction targets set by EPWU to meet basic demand. (Parks and schools irrigating with reclaimed water are exempt.)
  3. Golf courses irrigating with potable water supplied by El Paso Water Utilities and municipal golf courses shall water in accordance with a special permit and will reduce consumption by a specific amount per month based on reduction targets set to meet basic demand. (Golf courses irrigating with reclaimed water are exempt.)
  4. Water used to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the El Paso Zoo animals is not subject to the water emergency responses listed herein. Zoo water requirements will be as determined by the Zoo Director.
  5. Nurseries shall water plant stock in accordance with a special permit issued by El Paso Water Utilities.
  6. No new landscaping shall be installed or planted and no new landscape watering permits will be issued except for Xeriscapes which are drip irrigated using a permanent system, use subsurface irrigation, or are irrigated with reclaimed water. New landscaping watering permits shall be granted for a 7-day period for landscaping that incorporates compost in the area at a rate of 5 cubic yards per 1000 square feet of turf.
  7. All evaporative cooler continuous bleed-off lines shall be restricted or replaced with an automatic water drainage system.
  8. All water conservation ordinance variances are automatically suspended and no new variances will be issued.
  9. Routine fire hydrant flushing and testing shall be curtailed.
  10. Existing swimming pools cannot be filled with potable water supplied by El Paso Water Utilities after April 1. Single-family residential swimming pools must be covered when not in use. Pools can be topped off to replace water loss by evaporation.
  11. Upon a second violation of the Drought and Water Emergency Management Response Plan, the General Manager may order the installation of a restriction device or downsizing of the water meter at the customer's cost.
  12. Restaurants shall serve water only on request.
  13. Misters shall not be operated, except by special permit for health and safety reasons.
  14. Water can be used for aesthetic purposes, such as ornamental fountains, in accordance with a special permit issued by El Paso Water Utilities.
  15. Impervious surface cleaning with potable water shall be prohibited, except where conducted by order of the City-County Health and Environmental District or the Police and/or Fire Department.
  16. Hotels and motels must implement water conservation measures, including the reduction of laundry water usage.
  17. A drought surcharge may be added to water rates.
  18. Large housing complexes shall be allowed additional time to water on their designated day, on a case-by-case basis by permit, to be approved by the El Paso Water Utilities Water Conservation Department.

Stage 3

All Stage 1 and 2 drought management response options shall remain in effect.

Additionally:

  1. All outdoor watering is prohibited, except when performed with a bucket or permanent drip irrigation system, subsurface irrigation, or where reclaimed water is used.
  2. The irrigation of golf courses with potable water supplied by El Paso Water Utilities and the irrigation of municipal golf courses is prohibited.
  3. All car, trailer, truck, or boat washing is prohibited, except in facilities certified by El Paso Water Utilities and displaying approved signage.
  4. No swimming pools shall be filled.
  5. All water use for construction, dust control and/or compaction is prohibited, except with reclaimed water or brackish groundwater.
  6. New water meters shall be approved for connection to the water system only as required for military expansion and/or high priority economic development projects, as determined by the General Manager and the Public Service Board.
  7. All street sweeping shall be discontinued, except that performed with reclaimed or brackish groundwater.