Like all water resources in Santa Fe, water reuse is in high demand. Reused water supplies about 13% of our total water demand! That’s about 1300-acre feet per year — nearly 4.2 million gallons, enough to cover 1300 football fields in a foot of water.
The City has been practicing water reuse since the 1950s. We reuse treated non-drinkable wastewater many ways, including for outdoor recreation and sports fields, golf courses, rain gardens, car washes, landfills, the Santa Fe River, parks, local plant nurseries/greenhouses, roadside landscaping and to put out fires. The City is in the planning phase to return reused water to the Rio Grande.
Reusing water to cut back on waste is also a locally controlled water resource that helps meet the water needs of our community and is resilient to both drought and wildfires. It helps increase the reliability of our water supplies and expanded use of reclaimed water to increase our potable supply as part of our planning to ensure the availability of water in the future.
You too can make water reuse your new paradigm with these smart and easy ways to reuse water.
Graywater is gently used water from sinks, showers, and clothes washers (washing machines). Graywater is used to irrigate outdoor landscapes and provides a dependable, local source of water through the dry season. Irrigating with graywater also helps lower your water bill. Using graywater reduces loads on septic systems and lowers the energy, chemicals, and costs to treat water at treatment facilities. There are many types of graywater systems, ranging from manually collecting water in buckets to fully automated irrigation systems. One of the most popular, simple, and affordable systems is the laundry-to-landscape system, which uses water from the clothes washer to irrigate the outdoor landscape. You can receive a $175 rebate for these systems!
Every minute you leave the shower running to heat the water, you’re wasting over 2 gallons of water. Place a bucket in the shower to catch any excess water – you will be surprised at how quickly it fills up. The collected water can then be reused in your outdoor garden, landscape, houseplants or for your pet’s water bowl.
Collected and stored in a rain barrel, rainwater and snowmelt (stormwater) can be reused in vegetable gardens, for laundry and general cleaning. Rainwater is considered cleaner and safer than other types of reused water. The City offers rebates up to $50 for rain barrels.
Rain gardens are easy to build and are attractive landscaping that work well with native plants. These plants require little maintenance once established, and their deep roots soak up lots of water.
With dwindling water supplies, continued drought and growth, conservation and water reuse must be part of the solution. Help make centralized and decentralized reuse become the new normal. If you want to learn about innovative water conservation and water reuse techniques, the City is sponsoring the Next Generation Water Summit June 14-17th at the Santa Fe Convention Center. This year’s theme is “Water Reuse and Conservation: The New Paradigm”. Registration is free to City Water customers.
And don’t forget, starting May 1st there is no outside watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and no more than three times a week.