El Paso was “drought-proof.” Local weather change is pushing its limits.


Whereas farmers depend on the Rio Grande for irrigation, a lot of the water that El Paso’s residents drink truly comes from aquifers deep under floor. These important water sources are additionally in jeopardy. 

In 1979, the Texas Water Improvement Board projected that El Paso would run out of groundwater by 2031. At the moment, every resident was utilizing, on common, over 200 gallons of water per day. Most of that water was being pulled from the town’s two aquifers—the Hueco Bolson to the east and the Mesilla Bolson to the west.

For the subsequent 20 years, the water utility launched a marketing campaign encouraging residents to make use of much less water by, amongst different issues, changing their lawns with native crops. Immediately, common water use is right down to 134 gallons per particular person per day. That’s nonetheless greater than the US nationwide common of 82 gallons however decrease than utilization in another locations within the nation with equally dry climates, like Arizona (145 gallons) and Utah (169 gallons).

The aquifers are in higher form because of this—considerably. “The water degree is dropping, however it’s not dropping like a rock,” says Scott Reinert, the assets supervisor of El Paso Water. Nonetheless, extra water is popping out of the aquifer than going again in. 

El Paso Water pumps between 40,000 and 50,000 acre-feet of water from the Hueco Bolson yearly and replaces about 5,000 acre-feet yearly. (An acre-foot is an unwieldy unit of measurement utilized by water utilities—it’s sufficient water to cowl an acre of land, or simply over half a soccer subject, with a foot of water.) There’s additionally some pure recharge from different groundwater and the river, however it’s seemingly not sufficient to maintain up with pumping. 


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