Projects and Programs
Domestic Well Metering Program
- Santa Fe County is a steward of aquifer preservation. According to data provided by the Office of the State Engineer in 2005, there are over 14,000 domestic wells located in Santa Fe County. Water restrictions allow the aquifer to recharge by reducing the amount of pumping.
- All properties with a domestic well water restriction are required to install water meter and submit annual meter readings. You can verify if water restrictions exist by checking the recorded survey plat. Property that has recently been divided will most often has water restrictions; always make sure that someone is responsible for the water meter installation.
- In order to ensure that the amount of water allotted to domestic well owners by the Land Use Department is not exceeded, well meter readings can be entered online:
For More Information On How To Read Your Water Meter Click Here
Download the form below, fill out all of the information, and mail to 102 Grant Ave Santa Fe, NM 87504 or fax to 505-986-6389.
Water Meter Reading Program.pdf
Collaboration with Developers
If you are planning on developing something small or something large, residential or commercial, water conservation requirements apply to any and all of the projects you propose.
Water Conservation Guidelines for Residential and Commercial Development
Residences 2,500 ft2 of heated area or less must utilize rain barrels, cisterns, or other catchment basins.
Residences 2,500 ft2 of heated and greater must install an active rainwater catchment system comprised of cisterns
- cisterns must be buried or partially buried.
- cisterns must hold 1.15 gallons per ft2 of residential heated area; this figure can be adjusted based on landscaping, but not eliminated.
- Landscaping must be watered by a pump and drip irrigation system connected to cisterns.
- Cisterns must be buried, partially buried, or enclosed within an insulated building/structure.
- Cisterns must hold 1.5 gallons per ft2 of roofed area; this figure can be adjusted based on landscaping but not eliminated.
- Cisterns must meet all requirements set forth in the Water Harvesting Guidelines
Restaurant and Public Restroom Signage
All public restrooms, lodging establishments, private and public eating establishments are required to post water conservation signage. Home occupation businesses are exempt from these requirements.
Restaurants and Public Eating Establishments:
- All private and public eating establishments are required to notify patrons that water is only served upon request. Table tents are available at the County, or the restaurant can create its own signage.
- All public restrooms are required to post 8½ x 11 inch water conservation notices. These notices are available at the County, or businesses can create their own.
Signs for Restrooms
restroom conservation notice -- earth is thirsty.pdf
restroom conservation notice -- water saving device.pdf
restroom conservation notice --black and white design.pdf
restroom conservation notice --please conserve water.pdf
Signs for Table Tents
- All lodging establishments are required to provide patrons with water conservation literature. Brochures are available from the County.
Education and Outreach
Santa Fe County participates in various other water conservation fairs and forums, present and future educational material and lesson recommendations available.
- Water Quality Testing Fairs offered in collaboration with NMED.
- The County partners with the City of Santa Fe in the Children's Water Fiesta to teach 4th graders about the inportance of water conservation.
For more information please visit the NMED Website.
Commercial Retrofit Program
As of January 1, 2005, all businesses in Santa Fe County, including the Extraterritorial Zone are required to retrofit their facilities so that low flow plumbing fixtures are in place. Below is the list of requirements with which businesses must comply:
- Toilets shall not exceed 1.6 gallons per flush. Toilets using a quick closing flapper to limit the flush to 1.6 gallons are not acceptable
- Urinals must be limited to 1.0 gallon per flush, with that exception that, if approved by Santa Fe County, blowout urinals may be installed for public use in stadiums, race courses, and other structures used for outdoor assembly and similar uses.
- Lavatory and kitchen faucets shall be equipped with aerators and shall be designed and manufactured not to exceed a water flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute.
- Self-closing or metering faucets shall be installed in lavatories intended to serve the transient public and shall deliver no more than .25 gallons of water per use.
- Showerheads shall not exceed a water supply flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. Emergency safety showers are exempt from this provision.
- Water conserving fixtures shall be installed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to maintain their rated performance.
- For all new and remodeling construction, all of the requirements regarding water-conserving devices shall be certified by a certificate of compliance by a licensed mechanical contractor or plumbing permittee before or at the time of final plumbing inspection.
- All outdoor timed irrigation systems must be equipped with a rain sensor so that the irrigation system does not operate when it is raining or has recently rained.
- Exceptions to the above requirements may be permitted when necessary to maintain adequate health and safety standards.
Businesses are subject to random inspections to verify compliance.
An estimated 600 businesses will be affected by this ordinance, each business home to varying numbers of restrooms. An average toilet uses 3.61 gallons per flush, while a water-conserving toilet uses only 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf), therefore an average of 2 gallons of water can be saved per flush. An average faucet uses 1.2 gallons per minute, while faucets outfitted with aerators use 1.0 gallon per minute. With an average usage of 8.5 minutes per person per day, a savings of 1.7 gallons per person per day can be achieved.
Hot Water Devices
Instant Hot Water Devices
Hot Water Re-circulating Devices
There are several types of on demand hot water systems including: recirculating systems, demand type pump systems, thermo-siphon systems, and point-of-use water heaters. These systems may or may not save water in your home depending, upon your specific situation and the type of system you install.
Few studies have evaluated the water saving potential of these devices. A 2000 study in Westminster, Colorado evaluated on demand hot water systems in six homes and in a group of control houses (Mayer and DeOreo, 2000). This study found evidence of reduced shower usage in the six homes with the on demand systems. However, these six homes used more water for baths than did the control group. The combined shower and bath usage was identical between the two study groups. The study concluded that there was “no statistically verifiable overall savings” associated with the on demand hot water systems, either because of the effectiveness of the systems or because of the small sample size.
(info from www.h2ouse.com)
Utility Water Conservation
SFC Utility Metering, Billing and Rate Structure:
Customer water use is metered and billed on a monthly basis. The bills provide individual customer information about their usage patterns and the cost associated with such usage. In addition, the monthly bills provide a convenient mechanism to distribute conservation-related information. The SFC Water Utility's rates are designed to provide a financial incentive to residential and non-residential customers to conserve water. The SFC Water Utility uses an inclining rate structure designed to encourage conservation. Additionally the utility has a three stage emergency water policy which allows mandatory water restrictions and penalties for violations.
Water Allocation Policy:
By a resolution approved March 28, 2006 a limit was placed upon the amount of water a residential property will recieve from the SFC Utility.