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El Paso Water makes improvements to prevent water shortages following 2011 freeze

El Paso Water tank.jpg

El Paso has seen its fair share of cold weather but, the February Freeze in 2011 crippled the city.

"One of the things the freeze demonstrated for us is where are our vulnerabilities are,” Alan Schubert, vice president of operations and technical services, said.

Sub-freezing temps caused pumps to freeze which led to widespread water shortages. Over the course of six days, El Paso Water received 43,000 calls from people who didn't have water.

Since then, the utility has started $35 million dollars’ worth of major renovations to prevent shortages in the future.

“One of them having emergency back-up power at our pumping and reservoir facilities. We needed more volume storage that feeds things like University Medical Center and the hospitals,” Shubert said.

"We've also built a couple of large storage tanks. So when we have an incident, if we have an outage, we have sufficient volume to maintain water pressure until we can get it back,” Shubert added.

Improvements such as that these take time and money, which you've probably noticed on your bill.

"As things get older we have to replace them and we are having to up our efforts on that as well,” Shubert said.

El Paso Water plans to have all of the freeze protection completed by 2019.

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