The construction of physical barriers along America's southern border has been stymied and slowed due to partisan opposition in Washington, D.C., and legal battles in the federal courts over the last few years, but now one Arizona town is already starting to see some financial benefits from the construction efforts.
According to a story published Wednesday at KGUN-TV, the border city of Douglas, Arizona is getting a financial boost from having the feds' big construction project going on nearby, since their contractor's now a paying customer for the city's water.
The story explains that the 18-month contract nets the city $15,000 per month in rent and allows for the purchase of 30,000 gallons of water per day for wall construction.
"We bill them just like any regular utility customer," Douglas' City's Treasurer and Management Services Director Luis Pedroza told the local station about its arrangement with Southwest Valley Constructors, which was contracted by Customs and Border Protection to build part of a border wall in the area. "It's coming from our water system, our wells, we have about six separate wells within our water system here in Douglas."
Construction on the section of the border was announced earlier this year when Douglas and CBP first signed the water contract. The water in this case is to make concrete for construction and control dust during construction, Arizona Public Media explained in August. The relevant section of proposed border barrier covers a stretch just under 20 miles that cuts across the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge.
While the city had to pay half the $8,000 cost of building water lines out to the construction site out of pocket, they also expect to benefit from those "in the future," Pedroza told KGUN-TV. He also said that local water customers shouldn't expect to see prices increase as a direct result of the setup.
The construction in question is not to build a new section of the wall, but rather to replace older Normandy-style fencing on a section of the border that already had a pre-existing wall. To date, all of the border wall that has been constructed has actually been revamping and updating sections of the border that already had some form of barrier or fencing.
Customs and Border Patrol officials state that in addition to the 83 miles of fence that have been updated, there are an additional 153 miles that are "under construction," but it is not clear what portion of that 153 miles will replace older fencing, and which will consist of brand new barriers.