Albuquerque Water Conservation Stalls

My ABQJournal colleague Sean Olson has a story on the front page of this morning’s paper about the rise this year in water conservation in Albuquerque:

Albuquerque has used about 16.4 billion gallons thus far in 2008, up from about 15.6 billion gallons through the same period in 2007, according to water authority statistics.

The data suggests that we’ve done a good job of reducing per-capita water usage here in Albuquerque since the mid-1990s, when water conservation efforts began here in earnest. Work by Dave Gutzler over at UNM shows a neat correlation between climate (specifically warm and dry weather during the water-consuming months) and consumption. But you can see this dramatic drop in water usage beginning in the mid-1990s – a clear break from the past.

I wonder if the numbers underlying Sean’s story suggest the low-hanging fruit has all been plucked.