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Martita's Lunch Box named 2017 Conservation Hero

El Paso Water recognized Martita's Lunch Box (3623 Buckner St.) as its 2017 Conservation Hero on July 21 at the Chihuahuas baseball game. Restaurant owners Martin Rios, Lorenzo Olivas and Maria Olivas accepted the award from EPWater President and CEO John Balliew on the field before the third inning.

In selecting Martita's Lunch Box, dozens of locally-based restaurants were screened and evaluated based on best practices for water efficiency. Scorecards were used to rate each restaurant for use of water efficient faucets, toilets, washing machines and more along with proper disposal of grease and fats.

Based on scoring, Martita's Lunch Box came out on top. The restaurant is one of eight restaurants that have met the criteria to be an EPWater Certified Water Partner, a new program recognizing local restaurants that meet various water efficiency criteria.

"Food service providers tend to be big water users, so we want to give well-earned recognition to the ones that have adopted water efficient equipment and practices," said EPWater CEO and President John Balliew. "Our conservation hero program holds up El Paso models to create awareness of best conservation practices, with hopes that it might inspire other local businesses to follow."

El Pasoans have recognized the importance of water conservation, cutting their total water consumption by 30 percent over the last two decades. Continued progress is needed to meet future targets. With hospitality and food service industries representing 15 percent of the total water usage in the commercial sector, El Paso Water is increasing its conservation program focus in this area.

"If restaurants are interested in saving water and cutting operating expenses, we can work with them on best steps to take," said Anai Padilla, EPWater's conservation manager. "This program will be a success if we see more restaurants actively conserve and more restaurants become Certified Water Partners."

The other Certified Water Partners – in alphabetical order – are: