KGNS On Your Side: City of Laredo’s plans for a secondary water source

Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 1:04 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - According to the New York Times, the Rio Grande River has only stopped running in Laredo once, and it was back in the 1950s – the city was left with a day’s water supply.

Since the river has run dry one other time in Albuquerque, New Mexico in July 2022, according to NASA.

With summers getting hotter and hotter and the river having a history of drying events, many residents have questioned the plans for the future of Laredo’s water supply.

The KGNS On Your Side team contacted the City of Laredo Utilities Department to find the answer.

The City of Laredo has been searching for a secondary water source for years.

The last time the city was close to signing with a source was in 2007, but that agreement never came to fruition.

“I think it was you buy it or you lose it [situation],” said Garcia. “It was a cost that I don’t know if (the city) could’ve been able to take that cost, that charge, and it’s going to be an expense to the city.”

Since April 2018, City of Laredo Utilities customers have been paying for a secondary water source and water rights from the Rio Grande through the water demand fee that’s charged monthly.

According to Garcia, the department has collected roughly $6.7 million.

“I’ve committed already (one) million dollars to the purchase of water rights we’re closing on. Once that is finalized, that will reduce that amount by one million dollars,” Garcia said.

According to Garcia, the water rights purchased will take the city above and beyond 2040.

“We need to say, okay, that’s a good cushion that we have – now we need to start looking at our secondary source – groundwater,” Garcia added.

Garcia wants the city to explore getting multiple water sources like the City of San Antonio.

It’s a public-private venture Garcia hopes will take the community to the next 50 years.

“Right now, we’re evaluating (Request for Information) that came in one of them is from Legacy Water Supply Corporation, which is on the north side of Laredo, and that’s a potential source we can have,” Garcia said.

According to Garcia, the city also needs to develop a plan to get water to Laredo, which will include studies on blending the city’s drinking water with groundwater.

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