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EPWater employee ambassadors engage public

On many weekends, it’s easy to find El Paso Water employees out in the community, acting as employee ambassadors for the utility. It’s a role many of them relish.

Equipment Operators Joe Gonzalez and Ruben Mares of Stormwater Operations took part in Vinton’s second annual Village Vibes Music Festival on Sept. 30. Gonzalez and Mares ran the TecH2O Center’s Rolling River interactive display, teaching festival goers the importance of water management. To their surprise, an unexpected audience began to gather and grow.

“The point of the presentation was to teach young kids,” Mares said. “But the majority of our audience was adults, and they were asking questions.”

Gonzalez and Mares manipulated the display to show how flooding can occur in a city. Soon, questions on the festival goers’ communities began to flow.

“Westway is up on the mountainside, and Vinton is on the lower side,” Gonzalez said. “When it rains, the trash from Westway rolls down to Vinton. It’s good for both Vinton and Westway residents, so they can educate each other. Then, they will take care of the problem up on Westway before it gets down to Vinton.”

Gonzalez and Mares indulged in the opportunity to raise awareness on keeping storm drains free and clear of trash and debris.

“What we told them is a lot of the flooding occurs because of the trash and debris,” Mares said.

Water Resources Manager Scott Reinert recently participated as tour guide for a Celebration of Our Mountains field trip to see EPWater’s aquifer recharge basins. Several weeks ago, he also led a similar public tour through the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant. Reinert enjoys volunteering to educate the public about our water resources.

“I enjoy explaining our El Paso Water projects so that various groups of people– whether UTEP students, groups of kids or adults – can better understand what we do,” Reinert said. “I like to keep it informative and make it conversational, and I enjoy answering questions. It’s always interesting to see what their level of understanding is.”