New Hire to Boost Water Resource Management

By Nadia M. Whitehead

UTEP News Service

He’s been appointed to top-notch positions by the past two Presidents of the United of States, credited with bringing the world’s largest inland desalination plant to the region – and now, he’ll work for The University of Texas at El Paso.

“We are very proud to announce today that Ed Archuleta will be joining UTEP as the Director of Water Initiatives,” President Diana Natalicio told a crowd of onlookers on Friday, Aug. 2. “Everyone here I think knows that Archuleta is considered one of the country’s top experts in strategic management of water policy and water resources.”Ed Archuleta, former CEO of El Paso Water Utilities who’s credited with bringing the world’s largest inland desalination plant to the region, has become Director of Water Initiatives at UTEP. He is pictured with UTEP President Diana Natalicio. Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP News ServiceEd Archuleta, former CEO of El Paso Water Utilities who’s credited with bringing the world’s largest inland desalination plant to the region, has become Director of Water Initiatives at UTEP. He is pictured with UTEP President Diana Natalicio. Photo by J.R. Hernandez / UTEP News Service

Archuleta’s new part-time position will revolve around two main goals: increasing the visibility and amount of research in water resource management at UTEP, and creating a master’s and doctoral degree program at the University in the very same field.

“What better place to attract students interested in this field than an arid area like El Paso?” said Archuleta, who will help develop curriculum for the new programs. “This region is a living lab – we have water from the river, groundwater, reclaimed water, brackish water, and a desalination plant. We cover the whole spectrum of water resource management, so this will be a great place to study and have research seminars to promote it.”

Prior to joining the University, Archuleta served as the CEO of El Paso Water Utilities for 24 years, and is credited with positioning El Paso as a leading city for innovative strategies to ensure water supply. He holds extensive experience and an international reputation in water management issue positions.

In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Archuleta as a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, where he helped provide advice on the information systems and security of the nation’s water, one of the U.S.’s critical infrastructure sectors.

In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him as the U.S. chairman of the Pecos-River Compact Commission, which helps ensure that Texas receives its equitable share of quality water from the Pecos River.

“I am looking forward to working with him,” said Tom Davis, Ph.D., director for the Center for Inland Desalination at UTEP. “He has a lot of contacts throughout the world and holds a lot of influence. He can open doors for UTEP.”

Over the years Archuleta has worked with multiple agencies, including the Water Environment Research Foundation, American Water Works Association, International Water Association, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, WateReuse Research Foundation, Water Research Foundation, and the Water Services Association of Australia.

“I look forward to working on attracting research grants and developing initiatives and partnerships that will make UTEP a leading university in water policy, education and research, particularly geared to the arid west and water scarce regions of the world,” he said.

Archuleta holds a B.S. and M.S. in civil engineering from New Mexico State University, and a Master of Management degree from the University of New Mexico.

The new director will start working at UTEP in early September.

Planning for the new water resource management degree programs is expected to be complete in the next two years.