REGIONAL COALITION AIMS TO ADDRESS WATER-MANAGEMENT ISSUE

REGIONAL COALITION AIMS TO ADDRESS WATER-MANAGEMENT ISSUE

Within five years, the 2.5 million residents of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, are projected to run out of fresh drinking water. The neighboring metropolis of El Paso, Texas, is projected by the U.S. Geologic Survey to face the same predicament within 15 years.
In a concerted effort to keep affordable tap water flowing, thereby assuring the sustainability of the regional economy, a coalition of entities has come together to address the water needs of the El Paso/Juarez area, which includes the growing city of Las Cruces, N.M.
Recognizing that affordable water availability is the foundation upon which the region’s prosperity and quality of life are built, executives and planners from El Paso Water Utilities, Juarez Water Utilities, the City of Las Cruces and the Border Environment Cooperation Committee have come together to identify funding sources both for further study of the issue and for sustainable project development designed to ensure the continued availability of clean tap water far into the future.
A feasibility study for sustainable water availability already has been commissioned by the coalition, with the assistance of engineering firms on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. The goal is to develop a regional plan of action that recognizes the interdependence of the major cities whose futures are at stake.
Among potential solutions already identified by the coalition are desalinization of substantial brackish groundwater reserves, more comprehensive conservation efforts by business, industry and residents, and better utilization of surface water (primarily from the Rio Grande) for agricultural, commercial and residential use within the region.
The past strategy of relying on the courts to resolve water issues isn’t working,” said BECC General Manager Fernando R. Macias. “This coalition seeks to emphasize cooperation rather than an adversarial relationship between the entities. The principals here recognize that all three cities – as well as the numerous small towns and villages in between – sink or swim together on the issue of water.”
Calling itself the Tri-Regional Group, the coalition’s membership includes: Ed Archuleta, general manager, and Hector Gonzales, strategic business manager for the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board; Jorge Garcia, director of Las Cruces Water Utilities; Luis Mario Gutierrez, president, and Alberto Ramirez, director of Juarez Municipal Water Utilities; and Macias.

Upcoming public meetings to discuss the Tri-Regional Group’s mission and strategy will be coordinated by the engineering firm of Camp, Dress and McKee, whose offices can be reached at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.
For more information about the Tri-Regional Group, call Macias toll-free at the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission at (877) 604-3377.