EPCWIDEl Paso County Water Improvement District
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This act created the 90,640 acre Elephant Butte Irrigation District (EBID) in southern New Mexico and the 69,010 acre El Paso County Water Improvement District (EPCWID).
Since the 1960s, El Paso has used a provision in the Rio Grande Compact that allows purchase or lease of up to 10,000 acres of small project served parcels to incrementally purchase and lease water rights served by the El Paso County Water Improvement District (EPCWID).(45) Since the compromise, the city has pursued a more aggressive policy and to date has purchased water rights to 2149 acres and obtained leases to another 5881 acres.
This agreement has led El Paso to engage in "water marketing" and conservation, which are increasingly common interim and de facto solutions to reallocating and extending water supplies.(55) Even though federal irrigation law allocates water rights on assignment to specific acreages, El Paso's purchase of EPCWID land has had a similar effect on the El Paso valley to that of lower Rio Grande cities such as Harlingen, Brownsville and McAllen that have purchased set volumes of water from local irrigation districts.(56) The huge amounts of water "lost" by traditional irrigation and manufacturing practices have led water seekers to pay for and keep the conserved water.