According to historical documents, the first mention of a new water
treatment plant was on March 5, 1941. A committee had been appointed
by Mayor J.E. Anderson to study and recommend options to supply
additional water to El Paso. Fort Bliss was expanding with the beginning
of World War II, and additional water was needed.
W.E. Robertson Water Treatment Plant, named for an El Paso Water
Board chairman, was completed in 1943 to serve a population of 107,000.
The plant was expanded in 1949, and in 1967 the Elwood J. Umbenhauer
Plant was constructed. Together, these two plants are called the
Canal Street Water Treatment Plant provide 40 million gallons of
water per day. They use conventional treatment technology to purify
Rio Grande surface water during the peak season (approximately February
to October, when water is released from Elephant Butte Dam to serve
downstream users). The plants are utilized as a blending reservoir
during the non-irrigation season for water pumped from wells. The
Robetson/Umbenhauer Water Treatment Plant provides water to central
and west El Paso.