A U.S. Geological Survey inventory found that the aquifer contains a vast quantity of brackish water that can be treated and used, and both El Paso Water Utilities and Fort Bliss were planning to build desalination plants. The parties have agreed to jointly pursue plans to build a single 27.5-mgd plant capable of meeting the needs of both entities. A single, larger desalination facility is more economical for both entities, according to general manager Ed Archuleta. It also provides for better management of the aquifer, which has been designated by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission as a priority ground water management area.
Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in 2003, and the plant should be complete in late 2004.