El Paso, Texas -- The City of El Paso has received a grant totaling more than $4.5 million, with that money specifically going to a program to invest in aquifer storage and recharge.
The Hueco Bolson Aquifer is the principal aquifer for the El Paso area and Ciudad Juarez. An underground freshwater supply that stretches from the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, under the Rio Grande, and as far east as the Hueco Mountains in Hudspeth County.
"Currently we take treated wastewater. That's treated to a drinking water standard and we inject that into the aquifer right now," Gilbert Trejo, the chief technical officer for El Paso Water, told ABC-7.
Trejo outlined the main reason for this multi-million dollar project.
"This is just another way of taking a water resource and using and storing it. So we have it for times of drought and to meet future water demands for the city and Fort Bliss," he said.
El Paso Water and the city, with the support of Fort Bliss, applied for the Texas Military Preparedness Commission’s Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant.
The aquifer recharge project will be done in three different phases. This first phase has a hefty price tag of $10 million. The grant will cover $4.5 million, while El Paso Water will front the remaining balance. Phase one will take two years to complete.
Trejo believes this project could curb water needs in the dry season.
"It will help with the long-term stability of our aquifer. The Hueco Boson. And certainly, help with drought resilience moving forward," Trejo said.