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Residents say border wall construction affecting water pressure

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SASABE, Ariz. (KVOA) - Residents near Sasabe, Arizona where border wall construction is ongoing, have reported to News 4 Tucson that they have experienced a loss in water pressure after construction started.

Residents weren't given any notice that border wall construction was starting in their area, but around June 1 neighbors saw that work on the wall had already begun.

According to pictures from a nearby resident, a wide road is being cut through a national wildlife refuge to build the border wall.

Metal bollards are then being filled with concrete, where according to local residents an estimated 110,000 gallons of water are being pumped per day from local wells to make the cement.

"We don't know how it's going to affect any wells down here, if it will, if it's going to pump them dry. No hydrological studies were done for this and there are no plans to have any," said Melissa Owen, a rancher near Sasabe.

Owen has reached out to Customs and Border Patrol the Army Corp of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security to see the actual amount of water being pumped each day but none of them have given her an answer.

We attempted to reach DHS but they did not respond to our media request.

The department is operating under the Real ID Act for the construction of the wall which allows them disregard environmental protections in the region.

"It also means that no one has to give landowners or residents in this area any information. It's secret because there's a national emergency," said Owen.

Owen has lived on her ranch for 17 years and has been in the region for 25 years and says that the whole situation is frustrating for everyone affected.

"This is supposed to be something that is protecting us and it isn't protecting us it's destroying our land," said Owen.

Friends in Sasabe have told her about their water pressure issues since construction started and she worries that not having water at all, may be next.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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