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EPWater partners with EPISD to improve water efficiency at key schools

El Paso Water completed a water audit Feb. 4 at Coldwell Elementary School. The school is one of six chosen by the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) to participate in an EPWater program aimed at boosting water conservation.

EPWater provided a free audit of each school's outdoor irrigation systems. Some schools also received an indoor audit that included water use in kitchens, bathrooms and gyms to identify potential water-efficiency improvements. Coldwell was the final school to receive an assessment. Other schools included Newman Elementary, Cooley Elementary, Stanton Elementary, Travis Elementary and Carlos Rivera Elementary.

The utility will analyze the collected data and provide the schools with a report on how to improve their systems. Each school will receive a grant of up to $5,000 to help repair leaks or make other identified improvements. El Paso Water will work with the schools to compare savings of water and money after the improvements are made.

Water tested, water saved
The outdoor sprinkler systems for field irrigation were analyzed at each school. Placing specialized measuring cups at strategic spots around each sprinkler, EPWater technicians determined how water is distributed throughout each field.

Water is wasted when schools run their irrigation systems longer than needed. The excess water can also pool and deteriorate the quality of the field. EPWater will use the data to give the schools a report on how to adjust the angle, strength and height of each sprinkler to create consistent and even water distribution.

EPISD Irrigation Technician Juan Vega said each school district technician can oversee as many as 25 schools, so they never have the time nor the money for a comprehensive audit.

"This input makes a big difference for us in managing the field," Vega said.

"We hope the lessons learned from the school pilot program can be applied more broadly to benefit other schools through savings of water and money," said EPWater Conservation Manager Anai Padilla.