Water Talk: Gratitude for hidden infrastructure

·3 min read
You might drive by the water tank on Triviz Drive every day, but did you know it’s part of a large system of critical infrastructure in Las Cruces with 600 miles of piping under the city?
You might drive by the water tank on Triviz Drive every day, but did you know it’s part of a large system of critical infrastructure in Las Cruces with 600 miles of piping under the city?

Around kitchen tables throughout the country, there will be gratitude for the food and the company of our friends and family. The support of those we love sustains us, and similarly, there is a support system that we don’t see or may have gratitude for until we notice that it’s not in our lives. The miles of hidden infrastructure that supplies the water to our homes and business is a piece of what makes our society flow.

“In this time of year to be thankful for things in our lives, I am thankful our workers, past and present, who have dedicated their lives to upholding different components in our water system’s infrastructure,” said Las Cruces Utilities Interim Deputy Director Water Ronald N. Borunda.

A city’s infrastructure is made up of things like facilities and systems that support a sustainable functionality of a country, city, or even a home. With the LCU water system, there are four distinct components of the water system.

The first component is the supply of water. For Las Cruces, that is the water from the Jornada and Mesilla bolsons, which range from 100 to 300 feet underground. LCU has over 40 wells that pull water from our underground sources to homes and businesses in our city. There are over 600 miles of water pipe throughout the city. Pipes were installed from recent to 60 years ago and range from cast iron pipe to polyvinyl.

“We are upgrading piping when we encounter older piping,” said Borunda. “This is why you may see LCU crews working in tandem with the City of Las Cruces Public Works department when updates to roads happen.”

The second component of a water system is the treatment. Each water system is different, and treatment can range from sand filter beds, ultraviolet, activated carbon, polyphosphate and chlorination — all of which require space, equipment and, importantly, trained employees to manage. LCU treats water at each well in the city with chlorine and a few choice wells with polyphosphate to assist in keeping natural iron and manganese in suspension so we can try to minimize red water.

The third component is water storage, maybe less hidden around town with their colorful artwork. The tanks are not just for storage but also merge into the water system’s fourth component — distribution.

Water distribution is all the parts in how water ends up at your home or business. There are pressure regulating valves on pipes, booster pumps that give an added push to water from one elevation to another, isolation valves that turn water on and off, meters that show the usage, fire hydrants for emergency, and your tap for everyday use.

Borunda said, “Whether it be washing the dishes after a Thanksgiving feast or washing a favorite shirt after some pumpkin pie landed on it, water is a part of your holiday season,” Borunda said. “LCU maintains the infrastructure throughout our city to support the memories we make not only during the holidays but throughout our entire lives.”

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

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Water Talk: Gratitude for hidden infrastructure