El Paso Must Die

We must prepare El Paso to die. The stark truth is that in the coming decades the city we love must either be put to sleep gently by our own hand, or else it will surely die a tragic and perhaps violent death in spite of our best efforts.

Unfortunately, in this part of the world water does not just fall from the sky. Even in a "rainy" year like 2006, even with recycling and the strictest possible water rationing, the city cannot possibly meet its essential water needs from renewable sources. Meanwhile, we are rapidly depleting our fossil aquifers that were formed during the Ice Ages.  When every drop of this water is finally all pumped out there will be no more. This will inevitably occur within two to three decades at present pumping rates, perhaps a bit later if we extend pipelines deeper into New Mexico and western Texas. Even then, we share local underground water reserves with Ciudad Juarez, where nearly two million thirsty people depend on the same dying ecosystem as we do. 

As El Pasoans we all love our desert border region and our unique binational, bicultural community. However, unlike those who choose to close their eyes to the facts, responsible El Pasoans are already seeing the handwriting on the wall and know that we need to act now by beginning the evacuation of our community before crisis forces our hand.

The inevitable coming water crisis will wreak greater havoc on El Paso than earthquakes caused to Haiti. When water runs out first across the border will a couple million Juarenses sit quietly and die of thirst? Will they peacefully wait for their own dysfunctional administration to solve the problem "somehow"? Will they migrate to the impoverished interior of their own country?  Or, will they look northward? And when our own faucets finally start drying up in El Paso it will be too late! On that day we may envy the people of Haiti.

True, some people say not to worry because surely "they" will find "some solution" before our water runs out. These dreamers suggest that a U.S. government that has been deliberately weakened and downsized and is deeper in debt than any nation in history will somehow manage to cough up enough money  (or manage to borrow enough from China!) to build giant desalinization plants and grand transcontinental pipelines from the Great Lakes or the West Coast to ship water to thirsty El Paso, projects that would be bigger and costlier than the Apollo moon landing or even the Great Wall of China!  Others simply refuse to face the facts. While they may sincerely love El Paso, these people are tragically mistaken and to follow their leadership will bring disaster.

Death may come for El Paso in twenty years, or in thirty, or in fifty, but no matter how positively we think about it, no matter how hard we try to ignore it, our fate is already sealed.  It is time to begin the exodus.  Construction of new homes or businesses needs to be absolutely prohibited, starting today. Instead of wasting millions on costly projects like campus construction or downtown renovation, local and state authorities need to offer whatever money they have left to residents and businesses to leave El Paso and never return. Youth and families, business people, workers and professionals all need to start building new lives elsewhere. Students need to start planning their dreams in areas with a future, because ours has none. The great desert liner that is the S.S. El Paso is on the rocks, the deck is already tilting and the tide is going out--it is time to "abandon ship" and take to the lifeboats before we all go down with the ship!  

OW 1/07 rev 10/12



For educational purposes only.



NOTE: This sample argument is offered for academic purposes only, and is not intended to represent the opinion of UTEP, its staff, faculty, regents or administration, or of this instructor.




Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655
The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
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