High desert water in the time of COVID-19

During these uncertain times, we hope these reminders and tips will help our community protect our health and continue to value Santa Fe’s water.

First, the City of Santa Fe Water Division is confident that we will continue to deliver safe drinking water throughout the COVID-19 pandemic because of advanced treatment processes and stringent monitoring protocols. For more information on COVID-19 related water quality information , please visit https://www.santafenm.gov/water_division

As the number of coronavirus cases in New Mexico continue to climb, Santa Fe will temporarily suspend water shut-offs during the ongoing public health emergency.

Even in the middle of a pandemic we can make the effort to save water.

The current situation is reminding us all how important it is to wash our hands. Water for hand washing is essential to slow the spread of the coronavirus and all over social media we’re seeing people offering songs you can sing along to for 20 seconds while you scrub. But just think of all that potable water running down the drain during that 20 seconds. Many sinks have handles that, unless you have mobility issues, can be easily operated by your elbow. If you do have a faucet that allows you to easily turn on and off the water, please do it. Washing your hands thoroughly and often is extremely important, but try not to waste water while you do it.

Toilet paper shortages can also place a strain on our wastewater system. The increased use of wet wipes and paper towels can block our wastewater system because they do not breakdown in water the same as toilet paper. Please do not flush anything but toilet paper.

While saving water is always in season, the beginning of spring is often a good time to re-think the ways we use water outdoors and to use water wisely as a part of our lifestyle and the new changes the pandemic has brought to so many Santa Feans.

Outdoor watering accounts for up to 40 percent of Santa Fe’s water use. The city offers a host of rebates that encourage customers to save water. Outdoor rebates encourage customers to invest in water saving methods like in drip irrigation, gray water reuse, and rain water catchment.

  • Rainwater harvesting systems help offset outdoor potable water use and the energy required to pump it. Rebates include rain barrels and cisterns and are based on the amount of rainwater that can be stored.
  • Landscape water equipment incentives include rebates for rain and soil moisture sensors and WaterSense labeled ET controllers that can save hundreds of dollars.
  • The laundry to landscape gray water system rebates help divert water from your clothes washer to your landscape.

The outdoor rebates are offered to water customers for new irrigation equipment and new system installations. Customers have up to 6 months from date of purchase to submit a rebate application. More information on the value and requirements for the rebates, please visit savewatersantafe.com/outdoor-rebates

Now might also be a good time to get outside to work on your high desert landscaping. Using native and other drought tolerant plants can significantly reduce water use. To help you get started, our website has a helpful link to an interactive plant list tool from the New Mexico Office of Sate Engineers.

Customers are also encouraged to sign-up for the City’s exclusive EyeOnWater app to help you identify water use patterns, irrigation practices, spot leaks, avoid surprise water bills and to make informed decisions about water use in the home and workplace. Easy step-by-step instructions are on our website.

Be safe and stay healthy.