then, home lighting came from kerosene lamps, wood-burning stoves
were used for cooking, and untreated water was taken from the Rio
Grande for all purposes. The electric-producing plant used mesquite
wood to fire up to 500 kilowatts. Electricity was conserved by turning
off the street lights whenever the moon was shining.
the 1920s, the utility system began turning over about $10,000
monthly to the City of Brownsville. A decade later, the utility
began powering not only residential homes, but huge industrial
hubs as well. These included the Port of Brownsville, the United States Fort Brown Military
Reservation, and Pan American Airways at the Brownsville Municipal
then began shifting toward the drought and critical water shortage
of the 1950s. Engineering officials said, "Brownsville should
not consider the Rio Grande a satisfactory long term water supply."
Several years later, rainfall filled up the watersheds and the
Rio Grande, boosting Brownsville's water supply again.