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The original item was published from 8/22/2022 10:21:12 AM to 10/22/2022 12:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: August 21, 2022

[ARCHIVED] LCU Water Conservation Team Grows to Support and Educate Community

LCU Water Conservation Team

By Cassie McClure 

Published in Las Cruces Sun News 8.21.22

During the monsoon season, it’s easy to marvel at the rain that freshens up our yards but might flood our streets. When the water seeps away into the dry soil, residents remember that our desert home needs our care to conserve water all year long. However, residents aren’t alone in their efforts. Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) has expanded its water conservation team to help support, educate, and catch water violations throughout the city. 

“With the city's growth, there are more opportunities to come together and take steps to make choices that protects our water,” said LCU Water Conservation Program Coordinator Rhonda Diaz. “LCU has tools and resources that enable residents to be proactive with water conservation, but also be more knowledgeable about steps toward sustainability, like through our free monitoring service UtilityHawk, which gives water usage control to our customers.”

UtilityHawk is a free online service provided by LCU where customers can monitor their water and natural gas usage and set thresholds that allows them to receive direct alerts. Customers can sign up for free at

Water conservation is a large project, and Diaz needed a team to reach more of the community. The program added three new LCU Customer Service Representatives, each dedicated to specific areas. Maria Contreras monitors UtilityHawk from the backend, looking for abnormal consumptions, and alerts customers. 

“I’ll be giving customers a call and getting in touch quickly in case they don’t know about an unusual increase in water usage,” said Contreras. “It could be an indoor leak, underground leak, a broken sprinkler in a hidden area of the yard, or even a planned water use, but we want to make sure customers are aware.”

For some of those broken sprinklers, that’s where William Wilkinson comes in – and goes out into the city streets, responding to calls from residents and crews about possible water violations, water running in the street, or watering on the wrong day. 

“It’s about education first, communicating in-person with residents, leaving door hangers, and even explaining UtilityHawk more directly,” he said. “It's only after education and ensuring there are fixable situations that we walk toward giving fines for continual water waste offenses.”

Cross-training is key to the team so that they can support each other, but specifically for outreach and educating future residents will be Molly New’s mission. She will be organizing the Water Festival for the city’s fourth graders, who have a day dedicated to learning about water's role in their lives and is reaching out to teachers directly to give presentations in class to all ages. 

“Conscious water consumption is a concept and skill we want to teach,” said New. “We also benefit from being members of the community, residents like our customers, who have directly seen how drought has had an effect on our city over time.”

New welcomes anyone to reach out to her for more education and opportunities for presentations in neighborhood groups or local organizations. Next spring, residents will again have the chance to attend LCU’s popular Lush & Lean Workshops that has local experts giving free tips on topics like how to plant drought-tolerant plants, install water-conserving irrigation, and even enact proper weed control with LCU’s free mulch available at the Foothills Landfill Composting Facility located at 555 N. Sonoma Ranch Blvd.

Diaz credits the growth of her team due to the renewed push behind the scenes. “We couldn’t have expanded without the support of the LCU Board of Commissioners [Board] and our City of Las Cruces’ leadership,” she said. “In the future, we are looking to see what types of grants can help us provide incentives and rebates for our customers, so setting the stage with a team that has worked directly with the public will allow us to spread those programs more effectively."

“The LCU Water Conservation team has expanded because the renewed emphasis is on a more aggressive and holistic approach to water conservation,” said LCU Board Vice-Chairman Ed Archuleta. “In other words, a revised program includes all aspects of demand conservation both indoors and outdoors and applies to all customers, not just residential.” 

LCU – Your Utility Connection. Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at:  

For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500. 


PHOTO 1: Meet LCU’s new Water Conservation Program Team! From left to right, LCU Customer Service Representatives Maria Contreras, William Wilkinson, and Molly New.

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