Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Water Talk: gratitude for hidden infrastructure

Ronald N. Borunda and Cassie McClure

At kitchen tables across the country there will be gratitude for the food and company of our friends and family. Support from those we love supports us, and likewise there is a support system that we do not see or that we can be thankful for until we realize it is not in our lives. The miles of hidden infrastructures that provide water to our homes and businesses are part of what makes our society flow.

“To be grateful for things in our lives at this time of year, I am grateful to our past and present workers who have dedicated their lives to maintaining various components in the infrastructure of our water system,” said Las Cruces Utilities Interim Deputy Director Water Ronald N. Borunda.

The infrastructure of a city consists of things like facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of a country, a city or even a house. The LCU water system has four different components of the water system.

The first component is the water supply. For Las Cruces this is the water from the Jornada and Mesilla Bolsons, which lie between 30 and 100 meters underground. LCU has over 40 wells that draw water from our underground springs to homes and businesses in our city. There are over 600 miles of aqueducts across the city. Pipes were installed recently to 60 years ago and range from cast iron pipes to polyvinyl.

“We upgrade pipelines when we encounter older pipelines,” said Borunda. “Because of this, you can see LCU crews working with the public works department of the City of Las Cruces when doing road updates.”

The second component of a water system is treatment. Every water system is different, and treatments can range from sand filter beds, ultraviolet, activated carbon, polyphosphate, and chlorination – all of which require space, equipment, and most importantly, trained personnel. LCU treats the water at every well in the city with chlorine and some select wells with polyphosphate to keep the natural iron and manganese in suspension so we can try to minimize red water.

The third component is water storage, which with its colorful artwork is perhaps less hidden in the city. The tanks are not only used for storage, but also flow into the fourth component of the water system – the distribution.

Water distribution is anything that helps ensure water ends up in your home or business. There are pressure regulating valves on pipes, booster pumps that give the water an extra boost from one height to another, shut-off valves that turn the water on and off, meters that show consumption, hydrants for emergencies and your faucet for everyday use.

Borunda said, “Whether it’s washing the dishes after a Thanksgiving holiday or washing a favorite shirt after a pumpkin pie falls on it, water is your holiday season,” said Borunda. “LCU maintains the infrastructure across our city to support the memories we make not just during vacations but throughout our lives.”

The LCU Customer Central can be reached Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 575-541-2111. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities In an emergency, call Dispatch at 526-0500.

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