Collaboration helps local schools conserve water

Collaboration helps local schools conserve water
Posted on 05/19/2022
Check being presented to EPISD.

El Paso Water takes pride in its decades-long effort to conserve water in the Chihuahuan Desert which has proven to be successful among residential customers. Now, the utility is focusing on institutional partnerships to continue water savings in the community. The El Paso Independent School District is EPWater’s newest Certified Water Partner.

“We are excited for this partnership and what we can accomplish together to improve water efficiency at EPISD,” said Lisa Rosendorf, Chief Communications and Governmental Affairs Officer at the EPISD Board of Trustees meeting on May 17.

The Certified Water Partner program was developed in 2017 to positively engage the business community, large entities and local government/non-profit institutions to raise awareness of water efficiency practices and reduce water consumption.

The collaboration will help the school district save an estimated 1.7 million gallons of water every year by replacing toilets and faucet aerators. After the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the agreement, EPWater presented a $74,000 check to help fund the improvements at five campuses.

Water efficiency assessment

The utility’s conservation team performed a water consumption assessment of all EPISD campuses to determine the amount of water used per student annually. EPWater found that 27 schools ranked higher in efficiency with under 500 gallons per student; 35 schools were considered to have average efficiency with usage in the range of 500 to 1000 gallons per student; 12 schools were found to have lower water efficiency with a per student consumption of more than 1,000 gallons per student.

EPWater coordinated with EPISD to prioritize five schools out of the last category, and the conservation team performed water audits at each school to understand opportunities for improvement.  

“EPISD is doing a reasonably good job when it comes to water conservation in its schools, but we saw a targeted opportunity to save a lot of water and help EPISD save on water costs,” said Dawn Walker-Hughes, Water Conservation Specialist.

“This pilot program has the potential to save 1.7 million gallons of water annually,” said Rosendorf. If we realize the anticipated water savings, we look forward to expanding this collaboration to other campuses,” said Rosendorf.

Taking conservation efforts home

The funding from EPWater will allow the district to replace 300 toilets and dozens of faucet aerators at the Center for Career & Technology Education, Guillen Middle School, Lamar, Sunrise and Whitaker elementary schools.

“We need to provide best practices on water conservation in our schools so our students can implement them in their homes,” said Ernesto Ortiz, EPISD Maintenance Director. “We look forward to working together on future projects.”

To learn more about El Paso Water’s conservation efforts, click here.

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