Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Juarez Disputes U.S. Water Figures.(Final)

Byline: Rene Romo Journal Southern Bureau

Mexican official says supply ample but quality will be a problem

LAS CRUCES -- Ciudad Juarez's day of reckoning with a shrinking water supply is fast approaching, although not as soon as some have warned in recent years, according to a top Mexican water official.

In 1999, American officials with the U.S. Geological Survey and El Paso Water Utilities estimated that Juarez, a frenetic industrial city of 1.5 million residents just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, could run out of potable water in as little as five years.

There would be plenty more brackish water available, the U.S. warning said, but it would require expensive treatment and other water supplies would have to be located quickly.

''The estimates that (potable) water would run out in four or five years were based on erroneous assumptions that are no longer true," said Rene Franco, adviser to Juarez's water utility, the Junta Municipal de Agua y Saneamiento, and a member of the Paso del Norte Water Task Force. …

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