NM's largest water utility repeals 'drought watch'

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The "drought watch" for New Mexico's largest metropolitan area has ended.

Board members of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority voted Wednesday to rescind the "drought watch" they imposed earlier this year due to the dry conditions that have been plaguing New Mexico.

Under the watch, fines for wasting water were doubled.

The authority's conservation officer, Katherine Yuhas, says customers reduced their water use in response to recent rains and pleas for conservation.

As of July, the authority says its customers used 672 million gallons less than they had during the same period in 2012.

Still, Yuhas says drought continues and customers need to be vigilant about their water use.

The latest federal drought map shows more than 97 percent of the state is dealing with moderate to exceptional drought.