Clovis summer water use down

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Drivers navigate Grand Avenue where rains Tuesday covered one of the street’s two lanes. A New Mexico American Water official said the abundance of recent rains have helped keep water demand down. On Tuesday, 1.42 inches of rain fell in Clovis, according to the National Weather Service.

Liliana Castillo

Water use is way down across Clovis so far this summer.

New Mexico American Water spokesman Evan Jacobs said the reasons are fair weather, recent rains and customer conservation.

The company has an advertising campaign in full swing asking customers to alternate lawn watering days. The company is also offering incentives for customers to add water-saving technology in their homes, such as a toilet that uses half the water per flush.

“It’s been a good year so far,” Jacobs said. “We haven’t seen those spikes in water use. Having some rain really helps.”

Jacobs said in June 2009 the average demand was 9.6 million gallons a day. That number dropped to 8.3 million gallons per day in June this year.

Last year, Clovis had 3.04 inches of rain from January through June, according to the National Weather Service. This year, the city received 3.19 inches of rain in June alone, according to counts measured by New Mexico American Water.

Jacobs said water demand is higher on hot, dry days and several in a row can provide a challenge in providing water.

The water company requested emergency combined water rights in April, saying they feared they wouldn’t be able to meet peak demands this summer. Combining water rights allows the utility to apply higher water pumping limits to wells that previously had lower limits.

“Our intention for that was a measure to address peak day demands,” Jacobs said. “And we haven’t seen that. It is definitely a tool in our tool kit.”

Jacobs said he is not aware if pumping schedules have been changed after the combined water rights were granted by the state engineer.

The utility is also in the process of filing for permanent combined water rights. Jacobs had no information about the status of the process.

City Commissioner and Water Policy Committee Chairman Randy Crowder said he believes residents are using less water.

“The amount of gallons that flow into the waste water treatment plant are down even with the growth over the year,” he said. “Conservation is working.”