El Paso homeowners conserve water by using crushed rocks and native, low-water plants (such as cacti) for landscaping, a practice known as xeriscaping. El Paso also has a city ordinance to limit turf use to no more than 50 percent of a house’s landscaping space.Photo: Marie GilotEl Paso is the Wild West. Dust storms, scorching temperatures, and 9 meager inches of rain a year (New York gets 43).
A border town at the very end of Texas and in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert, El Paso is a great setting for a cowboy movie, but the harsh landscape makes the future uncertain for this growing city of 600,000 people.
In 1979, a study warned El Pasoans that if they continued to dip freely into their underground aquifer, it could run out of fresh water by 2030. The town turned that bleak prognostication around when it made water conservation a priority 20 years ago, and became a national model in the process. (Read a Q&A with the head of El Paso Water Utilities.)
Today, El Paso is a city that’s hyper conscious of water. The use of low-water plants and crushed rocks in landscaping — a practice known as xeriscaping R... Read more