Laredo water woes; state funding not granted

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 11:34 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Laredoans are no strangers to issues regarding our water.

Whether it’s an outage or a boil-water-notice, problems seem to arise every so often, but it appears as though the City of Laredo might not be getting the necessary funds from the state to fix some of those issues.

We use water every day to wash our hands, water our grass and even cook our food.

Back in February, the city had issued a boil water notice that left many people in town with little to no water.

During that time, Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz announced that the city would be addressing two key issues, replacing old water lines and creating a master water plan.

Since then, the city started to replace the water lines and create the plan.

Part of their solution was to also apply for state grants that would ultimately help pay the cost of the pipe replacements; however, recently Mayor Saenz confirmed that the help they were expecting from the state is not happening.

“We used to apply for grants these are free money since then we can’t qualify for any grants”, said Saenz.

Saenz says the city applied for Texas Water Development Board Grants.

Without state grant money, he says they will now have to turn to other funding options to pay for the replacement projects.

Saenz has said it’s a multimillion-dollar project.

“We are going in the open water market to receive more finances for that, but they are in the process of being financed and planned for”, said Saenz.

Arturo Garcia the Water Utilities Director for the City of Laredo says the city didn’t qualify for the grants; however, they will continue to move forward with fixing and replacing the pipes.

“We have replaced some valves, isolated some sections we prepared a bypass so that work is complete. Now we are addressing the other parts of the valves and that work has been ongoing”, said Garcia.

Despite State Representative for District 42, Richard Pena Raymond recently told a Laredo newspaper that the city filled out the application too close to the deadline. Both Saenz and Garcia say all applications were reviewed and submitted on time.

KGNS News reached out to Pena-Raymond on his comment and whether he knew if a deadline was missed but we have not received a response.

Garcia says the current water rates meet the needs at the moment but he says that in the future rates could change to meet the demands.

Despite the issues, the city says they need to act now before it’s too late.

The city of Laredo says it submitted 14 applications to the Texas Water Development Board. Click here to read the statement.

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