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Border wall construction in Douglas consuming thousands of gallons of city water daily

City officials say arrangement is profitable
Posted at 11:11 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 11:01:32-05

DOUGLAS, Ariz. — As construction of President Donald Trump's border wall continues in southern Arizona, communities at the border are seeing the impact.

One of those communities is Douglas, which has a contract to provide water for the wall construction nearby -- but city leaders say it's profitable for them in the long run.

"We bill them just like any regular utility customer," Douglas' City's Treasurer and Management Services Director Luis Pedroza said.

Pedroza says Southwest Valley Constructors will pay a dollar and nickel per gallon of water they use, like everyone else Douglas.

Southwest Valley Constructors was contracted by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to build part of a border wall in Douglas.

To build the wall they need water, enter the City of Douglas and an 18 month contract to lease land and use water, 30,000 gallons a day according to Pedroza.

"It's coming from our water system, our wells, we have about six separate wells within our water system here in Douglas," he said.

The city came out of pocket to build water lines to the remote area where the wall is being built.

"Installation of those water lines, we agreed to go half on that project since we would be benefiting from those in the future," Pedroza said.

The $8,000 tab was split between Douglas and Southwest Valley Costructors.

Pedroza says the waterlines are near the city's airport, which may or may not expand in the future.

"Getting $15,000 a month in rent for a period of 18 months is something that the city will gain throughout the agreement."

$15,000 is what the city charged Southwest Valley Constructors to use land for mobile offices and other operations while they build the wall.

So the bottom line for people paying water bill in Douglas?

"The price, this wouldn't have anything to do with that, but I'm not saying the prices will change, but obviously it wouldn't have anything to do from Southwest Valley pulling in water or anything like that, no," Pedroza said.

"Costs go up to a utility bill because costs to deliver services goes up."

Pedrazo said routine rate hikes to people's water bill can happen any time, but he says for now, border wall construction, and the new, if temporary, financial boost locally shouldn't affect the quantity, quality or cost for water in the city.