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Friday, December 19, 2014

Rio Bosque Pipeline - Your Action Needed!


Click image to enlarge.

Dear Friends,

The Rio Bosque Wetlands Park needs your help.  Please contact members of the El Paso County Water Improvement District # 1 (EPCWID#1) and ask them to approve a license to allow completion of the pipeline from the Roberto Bustamante Waste Water Treatment Plant (RBWWTP) to the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park.  A sample letter and EPCWID#1 members’ contact information are below.  Please e-mail, phone, and / or send a US Postal letter to all members. 

Also, plan to attend the next meeting of the EPCWID#1 Board, Wednesday, 14 January 2015, 8:30 AM, District Board Room, 13247 Alameda Ave, Clint, TX.

Background:

Construction of the pipeline is almost complete except for where it would cross a drain owned by EPCWID#1.  The drain, abandoned for at least 30 years, has filled in and is nonexistent in the area of the pipeline.  In July 2014, EPWU Public Service Board awarded the contract for pipeline construction and expected completion by 26 December 2014.  Without a license from EPCWID#1, the project will be delayed increasing the costs and unnecessarily complicating the pipeline design.

EPWU owns the effluent from the RBWWTP which produces an average of 28 million gallons per day, but they have no facilities to hold that water.  Once water enters infrastructure owned by EPCWID#1, the water belongs to EPCWID#1.

In the early 1990s Rio Bosque Wetlands Park was identified as the preferred site for a wetland project to mitigate for natural habitat loss caused by the American Canal Extension.  The wetland project at the Park was designed to utilize effluent from the adjacent RBWWTP.  Currently, the Park only receives water from RBWWTP for a few months in the winter.  To realize its potential for critical habitat restoration, ecosystem services, aquifer recharge, and economic benefit from eco-tourism, the Wetlands Park needs water.

Wetlands ecosystem services provide a myriad of benefits to El Pasoans including clean air, clean water, and esthetic, cultural and spiritual value.  Services provided by wetlands include stormwater storage, nutrient removal and climate regulation.  Using extremely conservative estimates by highly regarded researchers, Robert Costanza et al, the value of the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park ecosystem services would be over $1 million per year. 

Farmers benefit from having water in the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park because it will recharge the aquifer they pump from to irrigate their fields.  The water from the RBWWTP will improve the quality of the water in the aquifer which according to Art Ivey is so salty, "We're pouring poison on our [pecan] trees.”  (El Paso Times, 15 Dec 2014).  There is also the possibility of extending the pipeline to a proposed regulating reservoir immediately south of the Park which will capture “tail” water and make it available to farmers.

Sample Letter:

Dear EPCWID#1 Board Member,

I implore you to approve a license that will allow completion of the pipeline from the Roberto Bustamante Waste Water Treatment Plant to the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park by allowing the pipeline to cross the Rio Intercepting Drain right-of-way. 

Without the license, El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) will need to design and engineer a more convoluted route for the pipeline that will increase the expense to all EPWU rate-payers and delay completion of the pipeline. 

Adding water to the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park will benefit farmers by recharging and improving the quality of the aquifer.  Farmers will also benefit when the pipeline is extended to the proposed regulating reservoir where “tail” water can be utilized by irrigators. 

Sincerely,
Your Name and Contact Information

EPCWID#1 Board members’ contact information: 

Name
Position
E-mail
Jesus Reyes
General Manager
Johnny Stubbs
President
Art Ivey
Vice President
Indar Singh
Secretary
None
Miguel Teran
Board Member
Larry Ceballos
Board Member

US Postal address:  PO Box 749, Clint, TX 79836-0749
Phone:  915-872-4000

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