Egyptian visitors tour EPWater facilities

Egyptian visitors tour EPWater facilities
Posted on 06/29/2022

The desert heat was no surprise to a group of Egyptian visitors who toured the Sun City and El Paso Water facilities on June 8. The visit was part of the International Visitor Leadership Program, sponsored by the United States Department of State, which sends current and emerging foreign leaders on short-term visits across the country.

El Paso was one of four stops for the Egyptians with various areas of expertise including agriculture research, horticulture, farming and water management. They also visited Washington, D.C., Lincoln, Nebraska and Reno, Nevada.

EPWater welcomed the group to the Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Facility, TecH2O Learning Center and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant to learn more about how the utility manages its water resources in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Water reclamation

Some Middle Eastern countries face similar drought conditions to El Paso, and officials are working to learn more about securing water resources in dry and arid climates. A visit to the Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant demonstrated to visitors how wastewater is treated and reused for the community.

The plant treats up to 12 million gallons a day of wastewater, with reclaimed water sent to irrigation and industrial users. Additionally, about 25% of the reclaimed water is further treated using advanced technology to create drinking quality water that is used to replenish the aquifer.

“Water management is very important and the key to enhancing our daily lives,” said Mohamad Moursy, a water management expert in Egypt.

Moursy and his colleagues had engaging conversations with EPWater staff, including Javier Arenivas, Hervey Assistant Superintendent. “It is great to know that people from around the world want to know how El Paso Water manages its resources,” said Arenivas.

Diversity in water resources

Visitors from Egypt take a tour of the Desalination PlantThe next stop on the tour took visitors to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant and the TecH2O Learning Center in East El Paso. They were greeted by Dawn Walker-Hughes, Conservation Specialist, who talked about El Pasoans’ embracing attitudes towards conservation, and how that helps ensure water sustainability for the community.

Scott Reinert, Water Resources Manager, discussed the EPWater’s efforts to maintain a diverse water supply and how future water demands will be met. There was no shortage of questions and Reinert took to a white board to illustrate concepts that were somewhat challenging to translate from English to Arabic.

“They had great questions for me, and I appreciated their interest in my presentation,” said Reinert.

The last stop of the day was the KBH Desalination Plant, where Superintendent Art Ruiz explained how the plant takes brackish groundwater, removes the salt through reverse osmosis, treats the water and then sends fresh water to customers.

“I will be taking the information I learned here about treating brackish water back to Egypt to continue researching with colleagues,” said Moursy. “This is all very important information.”

With new knowledge in-hand, the visitors expressed gratitude for the insight EPWater shared about its facilities, operations and the common goal of providing a sustainable water supply for future generations.

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