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Tag Archives: El Paso water

‘Two Nations One Water’ Border Summit Draws 300 Water Leaders

Water industry experts and researchers gathered Thursday and Friday in the Sun City to explore water strategies for the border’s future at the Two Nations One Water: U.S.-Mexico Border Water Summit.

Lead organizer Ed Archuleta, Director of Water Initiatives for the University of Texas at El Paso, welcomed the diverse audience to the “Olympics of Water on the Border” at the TecH2O Learning Center located at 10751 Montana Avenue.

“Despite all the rhetoric in the news about building border walls and immigration issues, those of you in the water industry know that water is the most important issue on the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Archuleta. He invited participants “to share ideas so we can continue to have a robust and economically viable border region.”

“Establishing partnerships is vital to navigating water issues on the border,” said El Paso Water President and CEO John Balliew.  “It’s very important to have cooperation when dealing with this key resource. Our triangle of relationships between EPWater, the region’s universities and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is key to solving many of these issues.”

Speakers and participants engaged on topics such as drought, the Colorado River Agreement – Minute 323 and research on innovative technologies including water reuse and desalination.

A number of ideas were advanced throughout the two days to further cross-border cooperation and advance innovations that support the vitality of the border region.  Among the ideas that generated the most discussion were:

  • Begin to work on a cooperative binational framework focused on aquifers that cross state and national borders; and
  • Examine new economic models that value water and water infrastructure appropriately for long term sustainability.

Commissioner Roberto Fernando Salmón Castelo, of Mexico’s International Boundary and Water Commission (CILA), said the international conference and ongoing dialogue will help strengthen U.S.-Mexico bonds.

“We want water to be a theme that unites us, not divides us,” Salmón said.

Photo gallery courtesy EP Water

PSB Approves FY 2018-19 Budget, Rates and Fees

Wednesday morning, the Public Service Board (PSB) approved the El Paso Water Budget for fiscal year 2018-19 for its water, wastewater, reclaimed water and stormwater utilities.

“As El Paso’s population grows, we must continue to develop new water resources and extend infrastructure to serve new developments of homes and businesses,” said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew. “We also aim to improve system reliability and customer service.”

The new budget includes an 8% water/wastewater rate increase and a 2% stormwater fee increase.  Together, these translate into an increase of $4.06 per month for a typical homeowner.

The $490 million water, wastewater and reclaimed water budget enables El Paso Water to replace aging infrastructure, improve reliability and secure future water supplies.  The utility has also prioritized investment in a new customer information system and will continue staffing improvements and technology upgrades to improve customer satisfaction.

The $51.1 million stormwater budget will help expand flood control projects, maintain the existing stormwater system, and continue to set aside 10 percent of funds for dual-purpose ponds and open space projects.

“El Paso Water is trying to be proactive by repairing and replacing deteriorating infrastructure,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “We need to be prepared, and build for the future.”

Via a news release, PSB officials said, “Even with this year’s rate and fee increases, El Paso’s monthly water charges are well below those of other large Texas cities and other Texas border cities…and on a national scale, El Paso’s water and wastewater rates are less than half of the national average of $140 per month.”

Officials added, “Conservation is the key to reducing water bills for residential and business customers. The rate structure is designed to provide relief for low water users while charging a premium for high water users. Customers using less than 4 ccfs* (2,992 gallons) of water in any given month will receive a waiver of the Water Supply Replacement Charge. Last year, this charge of $9.83 was waived on an average of 38,000 monthly customer bills.”

The PSB also gave EPWater approval to enter into discussions with Project Amistad, a local non-profit, on an affordability program to help those who struggle to pay their monthly bill.

The approved budgets, rates and fees will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2018.

Video+Info: El Paso Water Urges Customers to “Protect Their Pipes”

With the coldest temperatures of the season expected to arrive this week, El Paso Water urges you to “Protect Your Pipes” to avoid costly repairs to your home or business.

“The average home loses about 10,000 gallons a year due to leaks,” said Alan Shubert, Vice President of Operations and Technical Services. “Customers should be proactive with protecting their home and pocketbook.”

Outdoor plumbing and faucets are vulnerable to severely cold temperatures. EPWater recommends these tips to avoid broken pipes:

  • Insulate exposed pipes and faucets outside and around your home, including those in unheated areas like basements, garages, attics or crawl-spaces.
  • In severe cold only, let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes. Running a drip of water through the pipes helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water is above freezing.
  • If a pipe does break on your property, know where your water meter is and how to turn water off immediately to avoid further damage and water waste.
  • If you will be away for several days, turn off your water at the meter or ask someone to monitor your home in your absence.

EPWater also urges customers to inspect their outdoor plumbing and monitor their water meter to ensure they are not dealing with any unknown leaks, which could increase their bill and make their pipes even more vulnerable to the cold.

Remember, property owners are responsible for water pipes that start at the meter and run throughout your property.

If customers have abnormally high water usage as a result of a water leak, you may qualify for a leak adjustment and get a partial credit on your bill. Call EPWater Customer Service at 594-5500 to learn more about the program

Video+Info: El Paso Water Urges Customers to “Defend Your Drains”

As countless El Paso families prepare to cook this holiday season, El Paso Water wants to remind you that putting the wrong items in drains or toilets can cause raw sewage to back up into your home, yard or the street.

Customers can follow these tips to ‘Defend your Drains’:

  • Fats, Oil and Grease – Wipe, don’t rinse, scraps from pots and plates before washing them, and store used grease and cooking oil in sealed containers. For smaller containers, wait for grease to harden and then dispose in your trash. Dispose larger containers at any of the City’s Citizen Collection Stations.
  • Wipes – Wet wipes, including ‘flushable’ ones, are rarely biodegradable. Put them in the trash can to keep pipes clear.
  • Personal Care Products – Never flush cotton balls or swabs, dental floss, women’s hygiene products, diapers or hair.
  • Paper – It’s okay to flush toilet paper, but never flush paper towels, gum wrappers or other paper products.

Any of these items can cause costly cleanups in your home and on city streets.  To learn more on how to ‘Defend your Drains’, watch this video or call the Industrial Pretreatment Department at 915.594.5729.

Singapore Utility Officials Tour EP Water Facilities

They are worlds apart, but El Paso Water shares common ground with their counterparts in Singapore in water reuse developments.

Three representatives of PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, visited Monday to discuss El Paso Water’s advances in water treatment processes and to tour the Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant, 11700 Railroad.

“Largely, Singapore is viewed as a leader in water reuse across the world, so for them to come to El Paso and to want to learn from us is a real honor,” said Gilbert Trejo, utility chief technical officer.

Dr. Mong Hoo Lim, (from left) Jireh Yew and Ervia Huang of PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, tour the Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant, 11700 Railroad Drive, and learn about the plant water purification processes from Martin Ortiz, assistant superintendent.

Dr. Mong Hoo Lim, chief specialist of PUB Water Quality, microbiologist Ervia Huang and Jireh Yew, senior planner, exchanged information with El Paso Water about their water reuse programs, Trejo said.

“Our visit was very informative, and we had a great time,” Huang said.
PUB officials, including Lim, first visited EPWater in 2015 to seek information on reclaimed water.

“We learned that there really are some differences in how we are both approaching water reuse,” Trejo said.

El Paso Water frequently fields inquiries from other national and international utilities, often seeking information not only about water reuse, but the methods in which the company provides water to the City of El Paso.

EPWater officials welcome those requests and see opportunities to learn from others.

“All of these water companies and utilities across the world are just trying to provide clean drinking water to their customers and their residents, so we are all in the same boat,” Trejo said. “There is like a brotherhood between all of us.”

“We freely share information because they could take something that we are doing, advance it and come back and teach us what they did with our information,” he added.

Author: Martha Koester – EP Water, Internal Communications Coordinator 

El Paso Water Honors 2017 Conservation Hero

El Paso Water will recognize Martita’s Lunch Box (3623 Buckner St.) as its 2017 Conservation Hero at the Chihuahuas baseball game Friday night. Restaurant owner Martin Rios will accept the award from EPWater President and CEO John Balliew on the field before the third inning.

“Food service providers tend to be significant water users, so we want to give well-earned recognition to the ones that have adopted water efficient equipment and practices,” said EPWater CEO and President John Balliew. “Our conservation hero program holds up El Paso models to create awareness of best conservation practices, with hopes that it might inspire other local businesses to follow.”

In selecting Martita’s Lunch Box, dozens of locally-based restaurants were screened and evaluated based on best practices for water efficiency. Scorecards were used to rate each restaurant for use of water efficient faucets, toilets, washing machines and more.

Also included on the scorecard was compliance record for proper disposal of greases to minimize negative impact on wastewater systems.

Based on scoring, Martita’s Lunch Box came out on top.  The restaurant is one of eight restaurants that have met the criteria to be an EPWater Certified Water Partner, a new program recognizing local restaurants that meet various water efficiency criteria.

The other Certified Water Partners – in no particular order – are:

  • Ripe Eatery (910 E Redd Road)
  • Ardovino’s Pizza (1879 N. Zaragoza)
  • Good Luck Café (3813 Alameda Ave)
  • Track One (1330 Robert E. Lee Road)
  • Super Elotes Richey’s (8541 Alameda Ave)
  • Julio’s Café Corona (3630 Joe Battle); and
  • Zinos Greek and Mediterranean (7040 N. Mesa).

El Pasoans have recognized the importance of water conservation, cutting their total water consumption by 30 percent over the last two decades. Continued progress is needed to meet future targets.  With hospitality and food service industries representing 15 percent of the total water usage in the commercial sector, El Paso Water is increasing its conservation program focus in this area.

“If restaurants are interested in saving water and cutting operating expenses, we can work with them on best steps to take,” said Anai Padilla, EPWater’s conservation manager.  “This program will be a success if we see more restaurants actively conserve and more restaurants become Certified Water Partners.”

Summer Sandbag Distribution Schedule Begins June 26

Customers can get sandbags for flood control seven days a week beginning Monday, June 26.

The summer distribution sites will reopen in the Mission Valley, west, central and east areas of El Paso, and hours will be extended at the Stormwater Operations Center, which is open throughout the year.

Customers in areas prone to flooding are encouraged to have sandbags on hand before most heavy rains begin. The limit is 10 bags per visit.

Persons who cannot lift heavy items should be accompanied by someone who can assist with loading and unloading the bags.

El Paso Water does not charge for sandbags.

The expanded site locations and hours will be available through Sept. 30.

Summer Distribution Locations & Schedule June 26 – End of September
Northeast Stormwater Operations Center
4801 Fred Wilson Ave. 79906 (map)
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
West Artcraft Booster Station
7830 Paseo Del Norte (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Central Haskell R. Street Wastewater Treatment Plant
913 S. Boone St. (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
East Cielo Vista Booster Station
9428 Daugherty Drive (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Mission Valley Blackie Chesher Park
9292 Escobar Drive (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Texas Water Reuse Experts to Meet in El Paso

Water experts from across the state of Texas will gather for the 7th Annual Water Reuse Texas Conference. WateReuse Texas, the Water Environment Association of Texas, and the Texas American Water Works Association are co-sponsoring the event.

Organizers chose El Paso for the conference location, hoping the city’s experience in utilizing water reuse to supplement and diversify water supplies will serve as a learning opportunity for other Texas communities.

Public Service Board Chair Henry Gallardo will give the Keynote Speech and EPWater President and CEO John Balliew will welcome conference attendees.

“Texas communities are demonstrating national leadership with water reuse innovations,” said EPWater President and CEO.  “El Paso welcomes water leaders from around the state and looks forward to sharing how water reuse fits with our past and future water supply strategies.”

WHAT:                 Water Reuse in Texas Conference

WHERE:               El Paso Convention Center |  1 Civic Center Plaza

WHEN:                 May 19, 2017

8:45-9:45: Opening Session featuring EPWater President and CEO John Balliew and PSB Chair Henry Gallardo

10:00am – 4:30pm: Technical sessions

To register for the conference, click HERE.

Annual “Bosque In Bloom” Family Event Set for Saturday

Friends of the Rio Bosque will host “Bosque in Bloom,” and El Paso Water is a proud sponsor of the event. The public is invited to experience the lush native river-valley plant communities now developing at the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park thanks to water present during the growing season.

Bosque in Bloom,” is a free event where families can take guided and self-guided walks of the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park and learn about the wildlife that call it home. Visitors can also enjoy bird-watching, and families can participate in interactive fun with their kids.

El Paso Water began piping treated wastewater to the park in 2015 to replenish plants and wildlife after several years of drought took their toll.

The water has helped large areas of wetland and riverside vegetation to thrive at the park.

For more information about Bosque in Bloom visit  their website or call 915-747-8663. Other event organizers are Bill Hoover at 915-487-7154 or Judy Ackerman 915-755-7371.

WHERE: Rio Bosque Wetlands Park 10716 Socorro Road


Video+Story: Saturday’s Water Festival Showcases the Role of Water in our Lives

El Paso Water is hosting the 18th annual Water Festival, a free event featuring interactive educational activities that are fun for all but especially geared to school-aged children.

The celebration coincides with Drinking Water Week, an observance sponsored each year by the American Water Works Association for communities to recognize the essential role that drinking water plays in our daily lives.

The Festival will promote awareness and protection of our water resources in the Chihuahuan Desert, and visitors will gain a new appreciation for water quality, conservation and stormwater management.

Thanks to several partnering organizations and various water experts, 42 booths will be available for visitors to engage with experiments, interactive displays and competitive games.

Water harvesting demonstrations, presentations about native bees, and Rio Grande flow displays are just a few of the planned exhibits.

WHAT: TecH2O Water Festival

WHEN: Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: TecH2O Learning Center at 10751 Montana Ave.

For more information call (915) 621-2000.


Health Foundation Seeks Public Input on the Playa Drain Trail

Earlier this year, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PDNHF) announced a partnership with the City of El Paso and El Paso Water to build a linear trail on the Playa Drain from Ascarate Park to Riverside High School.  Now, officials with PDNHF want to meet with the public to discuss and share ideas about the project.

Tracy J. Yellen, CEO, Paso del Norte Health Foundation, says , “The Playa Drain Trail will offer opportunities for recreation and physical activity (walking/biking) for use by residents throughout the region and as an alternative to driving for near-by residents, and is part of the Health Foundation’s commitment to making active living the easy choice in our region.”

The Playa Drain Trail project is possible because of the creativity and collaboration of multiple entities committed to improving quality of life in the region. El Paso Water purchased the Playa Drain from the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 (Improvement District) in 2014 for $2.75 million to become part of the storm water management system.

El Paso Water entered into an agreement with the City of El Paso to allow use of the Playa Drain for recreation, with the City committing to its maintenance.

The City also committed $300,000 for amenities on the trail as part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond Project. Finally, the Health Foundation Board approved up to $2,000,000 for design and construction for a 3.4 mile section with the goal of leveraging additional funds to convert the entire 8- mile stretch of the Playa Drain from Ascarate Park to Capistrano Park (just past Ysleta High School) into a safe, well-designed walking and biking trail.

Ultimately, the Health Foundation seeks to work with multiple partners like the City and County of El Paso to develop an ambitious, and potentially continuous, county-wide urban trail.

The Playa Drain is part of the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 Historic District, a large, narrow district that spans from Caballo Reservoir in New Mexico south along the Rio Grande, following the Franklin and Riverside canals and their associated laterals and drains.

According to the Improvement District, drains, like the nearly 100-year old Playa Drain, were developed to carry salty water that leached from the cotton fields during irrigation. The drains are characteristically deep, versus irrigation canals which are above ground, allowing water to flow through the soil and into the drains, removing the salt that can be harmful to farming.

For the Health Foundation, the conversion of the drain from its historical use to a storm water and recreation use helps the Health Foundation promote health in the region.

Foundation officials say that their research shows nearly 30% of adults in El Paso have reported no physical activity over the last 30 days. A sedentary life is often associated with poor health.

“We believe that well-designed trails that are close to neighborhoods and connected to other amenities like parks and schools will promote physical activity and make active living the easy choice for residents in our region,” says Yellen.

She adds, “We extend our sincere thanks to the Improvement District, El Paso Water and City of El Paso for their partnership on this project and look forward to working with residents in the neighborhoods around the Playa Drain and throughout the community to promote active living in our region.”

With the partnerships and funding in place for the Ascarate Park-Riverside High School portion of the Playa Drain Trail, the Health Foundation and partners turn their focus from visioning to design.

To that end, they are inviting the community to join them for the first set of public planning meetings to work on the trail design:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 – 6 p.m.

Riverside High School Cafeteria

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 – 6 p.m.

Riverside High School Cafeteria

For more information, contact Tracy Yellen, Paso del Norte Health Foundation at or 915-544- 7636.

playa trail

Local Water Conservation in Focus with Conservation Hero

El Pasoans know the value of water and recognize the importance of conserving in a desert region that often sees only nine inches of rain in a year.

Over two decades, El Pasoans have cut the city’s water consumption by 30 percent, from over 200 gallons per person per day to 129 gallons per person per day.  While this is an important achievement, El Paso’s water supply strategy calls for further reductions by 2030 with a target of 118 gallons per person per day.

EPWater will honor El Paso homeowners who make every drop count with its Conservation Hero program. Residential customers can nominate themselves or someone they know to be recognized as a Residential Conservation Hero.

The Residential Conservation Hero will be recognized on the field during the July 21 El Paso Chihuahuas home game. They will receive four tickets to that game and be featured in a video and on the EPWater website and social media platforms.

A link to the nomination form and guidelines are available at or at the TecH2O Center, 10751 Montana Ave. Entries must be received by May 22.

Residents can take steps in their everyday lives to help with water conservation, such fixing leaks, turning off water between uses and installing more water efficient appliances or equipment.

A community culture of conservation is essential for preserving the Hueco and Mesilla aquifers for future generations.

Video+Story: Rio Grande Water Arrives in El Paso

El Paso received its first allotment of water from the Rio Grande Monday; the first flow of what will eventually total approximately 50,000 acre feet of river water for this season, or 40 percent of total water demands.

Via a Facebook post, EPW Officials said, “The amount of water we receive from the river plays a critical role in our water management strategies. The more water we receive, the less we need to pull from the local aquifers. It allows the aquifers to recharge, which makes us better prepared for any future drought conditions.”

A video shows water reaching the Jonathan W. Rogers Water Treatment Plant Monday afternoon.

In total, the plant will receive approximately 20 million gallons of water in just one day.  This year’s allotment is comparable to last year.

Officials add, “We have seen a steady increase in our total allotments but still remain below pre-drought levels”

According to EPW’s Website, El Paso Water Utilities supplies about 90% of all municipal water in El Paso County.  Surface water is supplied from the Rio Grande.  The Rio Grande flows that are diverted in the El Paso area are primarily derived from snowmelt runoff in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.   Spring runoff is stored in Elephant Butte Reservoir in southern New Mexico before releases are made for irrigation and municipal use in southern New Mexico and the El Paso area.

The allotment will run from April through the end of September.

Time-of-Day Watering Schedule Begins Saturday

The seasonal time-of-day watering schedule for outdoor irrigation goes into effect on Saturday, April 1 and continues through September 30. Watering will be permitted before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. on designated days.

El Paso’s landscape watering regulations are included in the City’s water conservation ordinance:

  • No Residential Watering: Mondays
  • Even-Numbered Addresses: Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays
  • Odd-Numbered Addresses: Wednesdays, Fridays or Sundays
  • Water is allowed before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

Violations are considered a Class C misdemeanor that can result in fines of up to $500. To report violations of the ordinance contact 594-5500 or visit under the “conservation” tab.

New water rates went into effect in March.  As water consumption and outdoor watering goes up with higher temperatures, customers are likely to see higher bills.  Customers are encouraged to curb consumption to reduce bills.

To help customers reduce unnecessary water use, EPWater will share water conservation and irrigation efficiency methods at its free “Sprinkler Spruce Up” seminar this Saturday, April 1 from 11 am to 12 pm at the TecH2O Center, located at 10751 Montana.

Adjusting sprinklers through proper angling and spacing can reduce the time needed for irrigation. Conversely, improperly positioned sprinklers can contribute to uneven watering and shallow roots, which are more susceptible to drought conditions. The workshop will also offer tips on how to identify leaks in your irrigation system.

Since 1991, El Paso has reduced its overall per capita water consumption by more than 30 percent from 205 gallons per person per day to 129 gallons per person per day today.

The utility has a target to reduce water consumption further to 118 gallons per person per day by 2030.


Odor Control Remains an Essential Focus for El Paso Water Crews

Odor control can be challenging for wastewater facilities, especially for those in the heart of metropolitan areas, and some Central El Paso neighbors have complained about the smell.

To that end, El Paso Water (EPW) has prioritized infrastructure rehabilitation, allocating nearly half of the construction funds in this year’s budget to modernization and upgrades, including ongoing projects at the Haskell Street plant.

The Haskell R. Street Plant, located on Delta Drive south of the County Coliseum, began treating wastewater in 1923. Since it opened, EPW has expanded the plant to serve the area’s growing population and upgraded the equipment to keep pace with regulations.

And while passers-by won’t notice much activity from the outside, inside crews are replacing older equipment, upgrading facilities and accelerating maintenance to increase odor control.

EPW crews noticed significant improvements in air quality after replacing one of the clarifiers – the equipment that removes solids during the wastewater treatment process. The new clarifier removes odors with bacteria rather than chemicals, so the switch also increases worker safety and reduces chemical and operating costs.

Construction will continue for several years as we continue with upgrades that modernize the Haskell Street plant.

John Balliew, P.E., President/CEO of El Paso Water says, “We thank the public for their patience during these upgrades; customer service remains at the forefront of our mission to provide vital water, wastewater and stormwater services. In this spirit, we work hard to build relationships in our community and to be a good neighbor.”

“If you detect an odor, please be assured we are working as efficiently as possible on system repairs and upgrades to minimize impacts to nearby neighborhoods,” Balliew added.