Monday, December 8, 2014

Stormwater happens, though not often

Below is a response to elpasospeak's December 5, 2014 post Fixing Nature. We often like the posts by "Brutus" but know that he needs some more information when it comes to stormwater issues and matters about EPWU. Here is what Judy Ackerman says:

By nature’s design, arroyos carry stormwater downhill, across alluvial fans to where water can recharge the aquifer and/or join the Rio Grande. Every time we build a roof, road or sidewalk, we create impervious surfaces that block Mother Nature’s plan and magnify the drainage problems for those living further downstream.  Mother Nature always bats last.

Back in 2007, just after the floods of 2006, El Paso tasked EPWU with stormwater management, because city departments and elected officials did not have the expertise or the will to do effective maintenance or future planning for stormwater emergencies (this fact proven by the 2006 flood damage).  EPWU did not want the responsibility, but accepted it because they (Ed Archuleta) knew it was the right thing to do.  They had the expertise.  They are the experts on water management.  AND they are not subject to the whims of politicians who will never spend money now for the inevitable future flood.

EPWU estimated the funds needed for stormwater infrastructure and assessed land owners fees based on the amount of impervious surface they owned.  That seems fair.  BUT, El Pasoans objected because schools and churches with big impervious surfaces (parking lots) would pay too much.  So, we exempted schools and churches from any fees.  Now, the rest of us property owners must make up the difference. 

We El Pasoans made those choices and must pay the necessary fee.   For the future, let’s stop making any more impervious surfaces.

1 comment:

  1. "...because city departments and elected officials did not have the expertise or the will to do effective maintenance or future planning..."

    I think from what we've seen this summer that EPWU doesn't seem to have the expertise, either. They can't keep the drainage grates clean or even activate pumping stations when needed - "Do you remember where we put the keys?"

    Maybe the city should consider outsourcing EPWU's operations to a private contractor, e.g., CH2M Hill, where the PSB could set the performance criteria and not pay if it is not met, because there is no such leverage with EPWU now. Management gets their pay check even if I-10 floods for the 100th time. Money won't solve stupid.

    --- Jerry Kurtyka