SAWS News: SAWS Honors Local Businesses, Community Leaders at Refreshing Ideas Awards Luncheon
Aquifer Beaker

Edwards Aquifer

Aquifer Level 648.1'
6/20/18 - Official

The Edwards aquifer and its catchment area in the San Antonio region is about 8,000 square miles and includes all or part of 13 counties in south-central Texas.

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Stage 2:
Water On Your Day

Watering with an irrigation system or sprinkler is allowed only once a week from 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m. on your designated watering day as determined by your address.

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Aquifer Level 648.1 | Stage 2: Water On Your Day

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SAWS Honors Local Businesses, Community Leaders at Refreshing Ideas Awards Luncheon

Recognizing environmental leadership in San Antonio

Heriberto Guerra Jr., Chairman
Refreshing Ideas Award for Water Conservation is presented to Master Gardener Tom Harris, P.h.D., by SAWS Chairman Berto Guerra and President/CEO Robert R. Puente.
San Antonio Water System hosted the Refreshing Ideas Awards luncheon today, honoring businesses and individuals that excel in water conservation and environmental protection. During keynote remarks, SAWS President/CEO Robert R. Puente highlighted the examples of sustainable leadership demonstrated by each winning organization.

"San Antonio is achieving a national reputation for constantly looking for opportunities to save water and protect the environment," said Robert R. Puente, SAWS President/CEO. "SAWS Refreshing Ideas Awards recognize leaders that are helping us achieve our environmental goals."

Puente also noted how successfully San Antonio has weathered this year’s historic drought. Utilizing Carrizo Aquifer water and stored Edwards water, along with reduced demand from outdoor watering restrictions, helped the community to avoid Stage 3 water restrictions. SAWS continues to invest in new water supplies, including a desalination plant in southern Bexar County that will be online in 2016.

During the highlight of the luncheon, seven businesses and individuals were recognized with a Refreshing Ideas Award:


  • Bexar County, Paul Elizondo Tower Condensate and Lady Justice Fountain Project: The condensate from the 10-story Elizondo Tower air conditioning system is captured and used for landscaping needs for the entire complex, saving over half a million gallons of potable water annually. In addition, the Lady Justice Fountain was restored and retrofitted to use captured air conditioning condensate from the Courthouse, saving another 17,600 gallons of water.
  • Coin Mach Corporation’s Kwik Wash Laundries: Kwik Wash Laundry was the first Laundromat in San Antonio to introduce high-efficiency washing machines, replacing standard top loading washers in their locations with high-efficiency front loading washers. Over the three-year implementation of this program, more than 15 million gallons of water have been conserved.
  • Village at Stone Oak Shopping Center: The shopping center features 195,000 square feet of colorful, native, low water use landscaping. By converting from spray irrigation to drip irrigation, the Village at Stone Oak Shopping Center has reduced their water consumption by 23 percent, saving 6.2 million gallons annually.
  • Tom Harris P.h.D., Master Gardener: Tom Harris is a Master Gardener and a member of the Gardening Volunteers of South Texas. He has taught workshops on gardening and helped thousands of San Antonians learn about how to use water conservation methods in their home landscapes. Tom is a regular blogger for, writes a weekly gardening column for the Boerne Star, and has published multiple books on gardening.

Environmental Protection

  • Garcia Foods: Garcia Foods has taken steps to eliminate and reduce fats, oils and grease that enter the sanitary sewer system. In addition to a 17,000 gallon grease trap, the staff has implemented an aggressive Best Management Practices training program. Fats, oils and grease produced are now captured and stored for recycling pick up.
  • Yolanda Arellano, San Antonio Restaurant Association: Among her many contributions, Yolanda led the establishment of a commercial meter fee to fund SAWS commercial conservation programs and education efforts. In her position as executive director of the San Antonio Restaurant Association, Yolanda helped establish San Antonio’s new grease ordinance and developed workshops that would educate more than 1,000 food service establishments about water conservation and grease abatement programs.

Pinnacle Award

The University of Texas at San Antonio: To accommodate UTSA’s growing athletic and intramural sports program, the school replaced ten acres of natural turf on their recreational playing fields with artificial turf, saving an estimated 14.5 million gallons of water per year and eliminating the need for fertilizers and pesticides in the area. Also, UTSA recycles condensate water from the Applied Engineering Building to use as make-up water in their cooling towers, and treats all research buildings with neutralization tanks to ensure that water quality is maintained as it enters the sanitary sewer system.

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