Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

In Albuquerque homes, wasted gallons add up.(Final)

Byline: Stories by Rick Nathanson *** Illustration by Cathryn Cunningham *** Of the Journal

The hot water wait-and-waste game is played out thousands of times each day in Albuquerque.

Depending on the distance between the water heater and the sink or shower or bath, it may take from 30 seconds to several minutes for hot water to work its way to the faucet. And while a shower here and a load of dishes there will not deplete the aquifer by themselves, "it all adds up," said John Stomp, the city's water resources manager.

A person taking a shower, for example, will run 2-3 gallons of water or more down the drain before hot water reaches the shower head, he said. In a family of four, if each person takes one shower daily, the water waste will range from 8-12 gallons each day. Spread out over the course of a year, that waste could be as much as 4,380 gallons -- and that's just from a single fixture in the home. Unused water also vanishes down the drain in bathtubs, bathroom sinks and kitchen sinks.

The city's Public Works Department provides water to about 115,000 residential accounts, Stomp said. …

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