A $2 million grant awarded Thursday to El Paso by the Texas Military Preparedness Commission will help increase the city’s water supply in an effort to support neighboring Fort Bliss.
The grant will partially fund El Paso’s partnership with Enviro Water Minerals Co. (EWM) to convert waste generated from the desalination process at the Kay Bailey Hutchison (KBH) Desalination Plant into drinkable water.
“Adequate, reliable sources of water are critical for ensuring Fort Bliss remains one of the largest physical military installations in the country,” state Sen. José Rodríguez said in a written statement.
EWM recently broke ground on a new water production and chemical manufacturing facility next to the KBH plant. The zero-discharge wastewater facility will take the waste brine concentrate from the desalination plant, extract and transform salts and minerals into commercial products, and create up to 2 million gallons per day of additional drinking water from the waste. The EWM plant is scheduled to go online in early 2017.
“This grant award increases the value of the city of El Paso and federal government’s initial investments to create the pioneering Kay Bailey Hutchison Plant, the world’s largest inland desalination plant,” Rodríguez said.
The Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC) awarded the grant as part of a $30 million appropriation for the fiscal 2016-2017 biennium. Last December, the commission awarded $14.1 million to four Texas communities under the state’s Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant program to help communities support local installations. The commission was expected to award a total of $15.9 million in grants on Thursday.