A Community Toolkit on the 5-Year Water Conservation Plan

Two years ago we updated our 5-year Water Conservation Plan using public input collected through meetings and online submissions. We promised that we'd keep you informed and continue to ask for your valuable input. Please answer just a few questions to help guide us on the community's water conservation priorities. We appreciate the feedback!

Water Conservation Plan: 2021 Mid-Year Progress Report

How are we doing?

During the first half of 2021, City of Santa Fe’s Water Conservation Office began an ongoing partnership with the Santa Fe County Water Utility to develop resources to help city and county customers use water more efficiently.

Additionally, two neighborhood water conservation pilot projects are currently underway in Santa Fe, one that uses a top-down approach to a large neighborhood and another that uses a roots-up approach to address a specific location. Both the Santa Fe 25-Year Sustainability Plan and the public input collected during the past few years of work in the Water Conservation Office have emphasized the importance and potential of neighborhood scale water conservation efforts. 

2021 Mid-Year Report

Please view our 2021 Mid-Year Report to see the progress we're making on our 5-Year Water Conservation Plan (2020).


Below is a summary of progress made in the first half of 2021 on each of the Water Conservation Goals:

Goal 1: Education, Outreach & Communications

A lot of progress was made on this goal. We've really expanded our drought messaging in partnership with the County and have developed an education resource booklet that we will pilot summer 2021. This. effort will incorporate many of our Water Passport Education Program principles, along with adult messaging on City programs and initiatives.

Many adult outreach goals were met through the Next Generation Water Summit with the theme of Drought, Growth and Social Inequity. These were topics the community wanted to learn more about, and many departments were being asked questions related to these topics. A local expert panel was created to address the public's concerns and to answer any questions.

We have also had three in-person events to provide resources to the public on outdoor strategies to use water most efficiently while considering other environmental implications like loss of trees and pollinator habitats. We have also expanded our own water conservation demonstration garden to showcase these plantings, as well as a new neighborhood raingarden pilot project that showcases these different principles as well.

Our education goals for the upcoming school year will be adjusted once the school year is re-established with COVID practices that direct our efforts in the public schools. Internally, we worked across departments to try to address questions about drought and create consistent messaging on water related topics that connected all departments.

Goal #2: Customer Service

A lot of progress has also been made on this goal. The Next Generation Water Summit (NGWS) allowed us to have close discussions with the EPA WaterSense and Alliance for Water Efficiency programs to discuss national projects focusing on social inequity. We are beginning to gather information on related programming as well as program administration.

We currently have a partnership with the SFCC to assist us with water auditing projects and working toward establishing another potential partnership for low income plumbing and fixture assistance programs. We continue to use City technology to help us accomplish our customer service goals including EyeOnWater and the Survey 123 tool and have identified opportunities to partner with ongoing water division projects to expand the effectiveness of new technologies.

Our rebate program has maxed out all funding this FY. One of our rebates was for an internal retrofit project on 13 city buildings resulting in a water savings of over 6 acre-feet.

There was a large focus on leaks in spring 2021. We've greatly boosted drought, enforcement and water use restrictions across all platforms including NextDoor, Facebook, Instagram, our Save Water Santa Fe website, city social media outlets and our weekly radio show. Our continuous flow program has continued and leak detection is prioritized in all of our pilot projects.

The Water Conservation Office has done well working with other departments/ organizations on joint water conservation programs, the two largest campaigns of which are the Bees, Trees and Water campaign and the TreeSmart Santa Fe initiative. Additionally, staff are also involved in other multi-departmental sustainability work and in collaborative city efforts to improve outreach and messaging.

Goal #3: Partnerships and Pilot Projects

The Water Conservation Office is a small office and partnerships leverage the work of the small group by collaboration with larger projects. The WCO has many partners that we work closely with. Some of these organizations include: Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce, Santa Fe Watershed Association, Santa Fe County Master Gardeners, Randall Davey Audubon Center, Santa Fe Public Schools, Santa  Fe Botanical Gardens, Xerces Society; and other city Departments such as Parks, Public Works and Environmental Services. Pilot projects are also a way for us to quickly gain information on proposed programming. We have several ongoing pilot projects/programs which include work with restaurants, hotels, commercial properties and residential subdivisions to identify water conservation opportunities.

Covid restrictions have changed the way that we collaborate and as work has become more streamlined with the new technology allowing remote meetings, partnership opportunities have expanded and the pool of expertise available to the Water Conservation Office has become both deeper and broader.

Goal #4: Program Management

The Water Conservation Office is fully staffed and the Water Conservation Committee currently has full membership.  A strategic planning effort was completed for the water division and launched this calendar year which is being integrated down to each section in the city water division. Due to COVID, the WCO learned how to do business in a hybrid mode. Everyone had the capability to work from home so the work was easily divided so that COVID safety requirements could be met. Safety and professional training opportunities were given and met through the Next Generation Water Summit, City training through Local Gov and safety training developed by the water division. The FY 2022 budget for water conservation was approved and will take effect on July 1, 2021.

Our water conservation demonstration gardens have never looked better. We are not showcasing a cactus garden put in for us by the Cactus Rescue Project and a native plant garden showcasing new pollinator plants.  Our water conservation committee currently has three working groups focusing on outdoor demand, commercial sector opportunities and with the County's Water Policy Advisory Committee to look at joint water conservation opportunities.


The WCO scorecard has been an effective tool to guide, measure, and report on WCO projects. The 2021 Scorecard is designed to provide broad guidance to the WCO and its programs, while the 5-Year Scorecard will be the primary guidance document for the WCO during the 2020-2025 planning period.
2021 Mid-Year Scorecard

We're seeking public input!

Water Conservation 5-Year Plan – OVERVIEW

Last year the City Water Conservation Office held a series of public forums designed to collect public input to help develop goals for its 5-year Water Conservation Plan. This community-driven process led to valuable input provided by many engaged city residents. Learn about the planning process and why public input was sought.

Executive Summary

Read the 5-Year Water Conservation Plan Executive Summary

City of Santa Fe Water Conservation and Drought Management Plan 2015: 2020 Addendum

Executive Summary | Click here for PDF

This addendum (2020 Addendum) to the City of Santa Fe Water Conservation and Drought Management Plan 2015 (15 Plan) exists to update three sections of the City of Santa Fe Water Conservation and Drought Management Plan 2015: the Water Conservation Goals, Gallons per Capita per Day (GPCD) water usage and findings of the American Water Works Association’s Non-Revenue Water Audit (AWWA Audit). This report will be submitted to the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer (NMNMOSE) in fulfillment of permit requirements and consistent with New Mexico’s Water Conservation Planning Guide for Public Water Suppliers, also known as Technical Report 53.

City of Santa Fe Water Conservation and Drought Management Plan 2015: 2020 Addendum

Click here to view the Public Input & Planning Matrices

Public Input Matrix

The Public Input Matrix is one outcome of a series of public meetings held in spring and summer 2019. The first meeting was primarily informational and provided background on the Santa Fe Water Division, water sources and distribution system, and the role of the WCO. The four remaining meetings each focused on specific areas of interest to the work of the WCO: residential water use, commercial water use, climate change, and partnerships. A detailed description of the process for these meetings and the evaluation of the input collected, as well as a compilation of all of the public input collected is included.

The WCO has been successful in using an annual scorecard, developed in conjunction with the WCC, for guidance, tracking, and reporting. The 2020 Addendum uses the existing WCO scorecard format to structure the 2020-2025 Water Conservation Goals, which were developed using the Public Input and Planning Matrices.

2020-2025 Water Conservation Goals

The WCO has been successful with many ongoing projects and this 2020 Addendum is an opportunity to re-envision the goals and programs of the office with the hindsight gained from five more years of operation. There are three sources for the 2020-2025 Water Conservation Goals: public input, synergy with other City departments and plans, and opportunities to augment ongoing conservation projects.

5-Year Scorecard

2020 Scorecard


The WCO scorecard has been an effective tool to guide, measure, and report on WCO projects. The 5-Year Scorecard will be the primary guidance document for the WCO during the 2020-2025 planning period. The 2020 Scorecard is designed to provide broad guidance to the WCO and its programs.

Public Input

One of the primary goals of the 2020 Addendum was to effectively collect public input about priorities and projects that the community would like to see in the next 5 years.

Public Input Process, Questions, and Feedback

Click to view or download the 5-year Water Conservation Plan in its entirety.

Water Conservation Plan: 2020 Progress Report

How are we doing?

It was a challenging year but the water conservation office did a great job meeting its goals due to the flexibility built into this scorecard. Ongoing programs like public outreach and the education program that have been essential components of the office endured the biggest impacts of 2020. The Water Conservation Office (WCO) is continuing critical programs including tracking water usage efficiency, issuing rebates to water customers, and sending out leak letters to warn customers of likely leaks.

Looking ahead to 2021, the following will be the water conservation office foci:

  • City partnerships – City’s Canopy project, Bee’s City USA, Neighborhood pilot in Nave Ade, Neighborhood raingarden pilot that includes building out places and demonstrations that the public can visit and still maintain social distancing
  • Complete overhaul of education program – build out of virtual hybrid passport model to launch in fall 2021 with help of a task force of previous passport teachers and city education outreach partners
  • Work with other city departments such as the library, recreation and transportation to distribute outreach material to children and adults
  • Incorporate messaging into the art community (art commission, tourism)
  • Updates to rebate program that include passive rainwater capture such as rain gardens to encourage residents to utilize supplemental water sources for outdoor irrigation
  • Focus on reducing outdoor water use beginning with public input sessions held with stakeholders to help inform the program foundation
  • Continue to work closely with the Water Conservation Committee under the leadership of Councilor Romero-Wirth to continue to discuss water conservation opportunities for the City of Santa Fe.

The WCO uses this scorecard to track progress against identified goals. The Water Conservation Committee (WCC) scores the WCO on the progress made mid-year – none, some, significant, or complete. This document contains a graphic snapshot for each goal, followed by detailed metrics on the complete mid-2020 WCO scorecard table.

Below is a summarized snapshot of progress made in 2020 on each of the Water Conservation Goals.


Click to view the detailed 2020 Scorecard
The WCO scorecard has been an effective tool to guide, measure, and report on WCO projects. The 2020 Scorecard is designed to provide broad guidance to the WCO and its programs, while the 5-Year Scorecard will be the primary guidance document for the WCO during the 2020-2025 planning period.

What’s New

We engage our Santa Fe water customers on air during our weekly radio program Save Water Santa Fe. Airs Thursday mornings at 8:30. Tune in live at AM 810 or stream on demand.

The 5-Year Water Conservation Plan has been making the airwaves. Listen to some most recent shows with guests that include Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and Santa Fe City Councilor Carol Romero Wirth. Also, Water Conservation Manager Christine Chavez was a guest on the Richard Eeds Show.