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EPWU outlines $41 million plan to alleviate flooding

KDBC
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 7:32pm

Could recent flooding in El Paso have been prevented? That's a question El Paso City Council was trying to get to the bottom of on Tuesday. El Paso Water Utilities was in the hot seat -- answering those questions from city council reps -- and also outlining their plan to prevent future flooding damage.

Two weeks ago, flooded streets created challenging times for drivers. "Obviously, we haven't had that much rain in such few days,” City Representative Emma Acosta, District 3 told us.

Fast forward to Tuesday’s city council meeting where in much drier circumstances the El Paso Water Utilities company is sharing how their $41-million plan will help alleviate flooding in El Paso.

"That's going to greatly help the flooding situation at I-10,” John Balliew, the CEO and President of EPWU stated. The Magnolia pond and pump station, which will be built close to Magoffin and Texas and is supposed to reroute rainwater from I-10.

"I was concerned because the interstate is the lifeline of El Paso. That is the only way we can get to one side of town from the other side of town,” Acosta explained. However, in early September, the newly built Saipan-Ledo pond which was supposed to reroute flood water didn't do its job. "If it continues, then it goes onto Alameda and that's where we have, you know, the hospital."

"There was the delay and we need to adjust that delay and have the pumps start a little sooner,” Balliew explained. EPWU plans to build six new drainage ponds throughout the city -- and their doing so with style." If it has to be a deep pond then we're going to put in an aesthetically pleasing rock wall around it."

While these ponds will help lower the water levels come storm season, EPWU admitted, "That doesn't mean that Mother Nature can throw something at you that you're just not able to handle."

EPWU is still waiting to close the deal on the land to actually build these ponds. The projects should be completed by 2016.

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