Bringing Business to El Paso: The Water Problem

You’ve probably read this story in the El Paso Times, about how El Paso is running out of water.

The El Paso Inc., in reply, delivered this optimistic article on the El Paso Public Service Board’s solution. They propose piping water from our adjacent counties (one of which is exploring the water-intensive industry of fracking). If the oilmen start fracking in Hudspeth County, we’ll like be getting all our drinking water from plastic bottles.

A major issue that wasn’t discussed in either article was the effect of Juarez’ water consumption on El Paso’s supply. I mean, it isn’t like the Hueco Bolson stops at the border. We’re using the same water supply. And the border is our greatest asset. Without the border, El Paso would be little more than another truck stop on I-10. If Juarez dries up and blows away, El Paso’s chances for economic development are significantly dimmed.

Will the piped-in water be used to recharge the bolson? Will El Pasoans be subsidizing Juarez’ growth by supplying their water?

The recurring theme seems to be that El Pasoans are getting stuck for some real estate investors’ bad bets.

The future, of course, is unpredictable. Maybe we’ll all be driving cars powered by fuel cells, whose main effluent is water. Maybe we’ll be water skiing in McKelligan Canyon. What bothers me, though, is we’re putting a lot of effort into economic development, and very little into a sustaining the environment. The decision makers (real estate speculators and their lackeys) are intent on growth, and personal enrichment, without considering the consequences and the costs to the average El Pasoan.

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