Faced with completely draining their water supply dry, officials and residents of El Paso, Texas worked together to change their ways and ensure a steady supply for the future. Now, according to the city’s water utility manager, Ed Archuleta, “We’re basically drought-proof.”
How did they do it? A combination of actions that included massive water customer educational campaigns (Archuleta’s advice – focus on the kids). A little public shaming didn’t hurt either. The city also aggressively cooperated with their neighbors across their southern border, in Juarez, Mexico. New technologies included desalination and, more recently, wastewater reuse – an idea whose time has come.
This story proves that, with a lot of planning, the right kind of cooperation and proper funding, cities can ensure they have stable water supplies well into their future.