The Rio Grande Valley was running dry nearly five years ago with a drought. Towns like Raymondville were scrambling to find solutions. Not even water coming from the Rio Grande would have been a solution.
“[The water irrigation district is] coming to us saying, ‘Look, we’re going to be out of [agriculture] water to bring you your water.’ So, technically, we could be out of water in 60 days,” said Raymondville City Manager Eleazar García.
The town was receiving water from the Delta Lake Irrigation District and Raymondville’s own water supply wouldn’t be enough.
“The problem [the irrigation district had was] the farmers couldn’t get any more water,” García said. “[The irrigation district] couldn’t bring us our water because there was no water to ride on.”
Towns with similar sizes to Raymondville across the Valley applied for and eventually received $4.5 million from the state water board. Half the money is a loan that is paid back over four years by the city with low-interest payments. The other half of the money is a grant.
“Part of that was that we got moved to the top of the list from the Texas Water Development Board for funding opportunities,” García said.
The drought was both a curse and a blessing, allowing the town to construct a $2 million reverse osmosis water treatment plant. Instead of using chemicals, the new water plant will use filters to clean the water.
Raymondville has upgraded its water wells in recent years. Now with the soon to be built water filtration plant, engineers are currently reviewing bids for the project and working out the last details with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
City officials says the bid for the new reverse osmosis water plant will be awarded on Oct. 9. The new water plant should be online by September 2019.