By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 10.22.2021
On October 6, 2021, the Las Cruces Home Builders Association’s (LCHBA) Build My Future event allowed Las Cruces Public Schools (LCPS) high school students who may be interested in the trades that build their community from the ground up – or even deeper, by taking an experiential learning approach with their future. Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) was on hand to show students that infrastructure underground is also a career for consideration.
LCU Interim Deputy Director Ronald Borunda had two challenges for students at the booth. One: Building pipes that account for gravity to get water from a pitch of water – a small version of a tank – to a bucket, which would be how it shows up at a tap. If it leaks, points came off.
David Barela, Allen Wallace, and Joziah Navarrete, all juniors at Las Cruces High School, came together as a team to work through the challenges and learn about internship opportunities.
“One person can’t do everything alone,” reminded Borunda, who watched the students put together the second challenge, connecting two large pipes. Each student had a role, and each role was important.
“We want to educate students not only about what a job could look like for them but explain that there is a lot to know about how we work together and set priorities for the work we do,” said Borunda. “For example, when I get calls about water leaks, I like to explain that we assign priorities as a hospital does. Some water leaks are emergencies like a car crash, and some are like a broken bone. We want to help those in the crash first and then help mend the bones. Similarly, we just have to focus our attention to the worse leak, but every leak is a priority to us.”
For water leaks, LCU assigns repairs based on levels of severity. Once LCU is alerted - either by the alert system or by a customer - a service staff member comes to the site to access the leak. The four levels are:
● Level 1 is an emergency event, for example, flowing water impeding traffic or a loss of water to large city sections.
● Level 2 is a serious event that immediately affects the area but is not an immediate threat to safety.
● Level 3 is a leak that looks like it needs investigating for a source that is likely not a mainline for the city.
● Level 4 is judged as the most benign, such as a slow drip from a broken water meter. It receives attention in the order it is received after the three previous levels.
If you see a leak, give Utilities Emergency Dispatch, available 24 hours a day, a call at (575) 526-0500.
LCU Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500.
PHOTO 1: LCH Juniors David Barela, Allen Wallace, and Joziah Navarrete work with LCU Interim Deputy Director Water Ronald Borunda to solve the challenge of getting water to flow correctly using gravity – just like how it works in the City.