The Story of Water


In Brownsville, Did you Know?

  • The majority of water from the Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) comes from the Rio Grande, which we share with Mexico and other cities along the border. We treat as much as 40 million gallons of water per day at our two superior-rated water plants to make it safe to drink. The remainder of BPUB water comes from groundwater wells. BPUB owns more than 92 percent of the Southmost Regional Water Authority (SRWA). The SRWA treats 7.5 million gallons of brackish groundwater per day using reverse osmosis.
  • BPUB water naturally contains fluoride, which promotes strong and healthy teeth. Fluoride is also found in your ordinary toothpaste.
  • Many years ago, the Rio Grande had two mouths, a large and a small one that dumped into the Gulf of Mexico. Today, the river has one mouth, but the beach retained the nickname Boca Chica Beach, or Small Mouth Beach. 
  • Resacas were former channels of the Rio Grande. Today, they serve as water storage pools as well as habitats for a variety of animal species, including waterfowl, nutria, gar and even alligators. 

What is water?

Water is the liquid that falls as rain and forms lakes, rivers and seas. Water, however, takes many forms, shapes and sizes.

One shape that water can take on is the human body. Water makes up about 70 percent of the human body. All body organs use water. People can live weeks without food but only a few days without water. A person should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
The scientific term for water is H20. This refers to the atoms in water: 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. Once water is in place, it can take three forms: solid, liquid or gas.

The liquid form of water is the one that is drinkable and used to water lawns. The solid form is water that has been frozen and converted into ice. The freezing temperature for water is 32 degrees. The third form is gas, which is water that has been vaporized. Vaporized water, or steam, occurs at about 200-plus degrees.

What is the hydrologic cycle?

The hydrologic cycle is when water travels from the sky, in the form of rain, to the ground and back to the sky, in the form of vapor and clouds. After the rainfall, water moves on land in the form of lakes, rivers and streams. Water can travel over land and underground.

In Brownsville, water travels through a resaca system and the Rio Grande. It eventually reaches the Gulf of Mexico at Boca Chica Beach. Before the water goes to the sea, BPUB treats the water from the river and puts it through a complex water filtering system and pumps it into 47,000 households or businesses throughout the city. Once the water is used, it goes into one of BPUB's two wastewater treatment facilities where it is filtered again and pumped back into the Rio Grande and the Brownsville Ship Channel.

Water covers 80 percent of the surface of the world. More than 97 percent of the water that covers the world is saltwater. The remaining 3 percent is either fresh water or glaciers, which is the ice at the North and South poles.