EPWater welcomes first Citizens Academy class

EPWater welcomes first Citizens Academy class
Posted on 02/24/2023
Citizens Academy takes a tour of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Plant.

On February 3, El Paso Water welcomed its first ever Citizens Academy class of ten community members who were selected from a larger pool of applicants. The program offers participants a chance to get up close and personal with their water utility.

The first session kicked off at the TecH2O Center, where the class was welcomed by EPWater’s President and CEO, John Balliew. He gave participants an overall glance at how the utility operates, where our water comes from and how EPWater plans for the future.

“Our goal for this program is to strengthen the utility’s connection to the community,” said Balliew. “It provides a unique opportunity to meet our staff and learn exactly what it takes to provide reliable water, wastewater and stormwater services to the nearly 800,000 people across our service area.”

The Citizens Academy aims to engage and inform civic-minded citizens about the value of water in our region. The program includes a series of five monthly sessions from February to June. Each session takes participants behind the scenes of EPWater’s state-of-the-art facilities and features special presentations from subject matter experts. Participants will also have the opportunity for one-on-one interactions and discussions with EPWater executives and managers.

During the first session, participants also received a crash course in water conservation and learned just how far El Paso has come in terms of saving water. But the highlight of the session, according to the participants, was the tour of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant.

“The first session provided a great information about where our water comes from and it was also very interesting to learn how the desalination plant works,” said class member Jackie Butler.

Engaging a diverse community

First Citizens Academy participants.In November, El Paso Water began accepting applications from people with educational, civic, environmental, business and government backgrounds.

“I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about how the water utility functions and give us deep insight into the challenges that our region faces when it comes to water,” said Butler. “I’m looking forward to visiting other important facilities and understanding more about the future of water in El Paso.”

The members of El Paso Water’s inaugural Citizens Academy class are:

  • Sandra Boswell
  • Jacqueline Butler
  • Damon Crossland
  • Delia Medina
  • Ivan Niño
  • Amadi Olivas
  • Logan Ralph
  • Rocio Ronquillo
  • Katherine Vandertulip

The program is offered at no charge to participants and will conclude with a graduation ceremony in July once the program has been completed.

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