Elsa, Texas, USA

Water Conservation Improvements Project for Engelman Irrigation District No. 6 in Hidalgo County, Texas

Status: Completed


The district encompasses 7,600 acres, with approximately 7,000 acres currently in use. Because of its location and relatively small size, it does not have a river pumping station to divert its allotted water from the Rio Grande, but rather depends on the Donna Irrigation District for water delivery. Irrigation districts in this region cannot use groundwater for their operations because of its high saline content.

The irrigation system consists of one main pump station, 13.5 miles of main canals, 40 miles of lateral discharge pipelines and 11 re-lift pump stations. The conveyance lines, which were constructed in the 1920’s using concrete pipes with mortar joints, have deteriorated over time and the joints tend to leak under pressure.

The district also has a 50-acre reservoir with the capacity to store up to 660 acre-feet of water. The District uses the reservoir to supply water at peak demand to irrigators while receiving water at a lower flow rate from Donna. The reservoir was constructed in 1996 with clay liners, which have not been totally effective at sealing the reservoir. Persistent seepage from the reservoir has resulted in considerable water losses and limits its
operational efficiency, preventing a higher rate of water delivery and coverage.


The project consists of the following main components:

  • Construction of a transfer pump station to convey storm water from a nearby drainage canal to the district’s system, thus increasing its water supply;
  • Installation of a geomembrane liner in the reservoir to reduce water losses from seepage; and
  • Installation of rubber-gasketed concrete pipes or PVC pipes to replace leaking mortar-joint pipes.


The reservoir and pipeline works will reduce water losses from seepage, resulting in an estimated savings of 831 acre-feet of water a year, on average. The transfer station will allow the district to increase its limited water supply by using storm water. In addition, these improvements will increase water conveyance and delivery efficiency to better meet current demand. Energy savings from improved operational efficiency are estimated at an average of 54,034 KWH a year.

Project Financing

Total Project Cost US 1.21M
NADBank Funding US 0.48M - NADBank Grant: WCIF