Cuba, New Mexico to Become First US City to Deliver Clean Water Using Efficient and Environmentally Responsible Ion Exchange Process

MOU between the city and KNeW Company will use construction and operation of water treatment plant to create new jobs in area

Cuba, NM, July 14, 2020 - The KNeW Company (KNeW®) announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Cuba, New Mexico to build and operate a water treatment plant using KNeW’s patented ion exchange technology, KNeW Process®. The plant will be owned and operated by the KNeW Company and will create new, high-paying jobs for local residents.

The Technology

The revolutionary KNeW process® creates solutions for clean fresh drinking water and high-quality fertilizer products. It was originally invented to address the post treatment of Acid Mine Drainage from mining operations. But the core ion exchange technology, invented by chemical engineer John Bewsey, can also be used to treat contaminated water from brackish aquifers. KNeW is a ZERO discharge process, meaning that nearly 100% of treated water is converted into clean, fresh drinking water. Evaporation accounts for less than 4% of the treated water. The byproducts of the process–minerals extracted from the brackish water, such as potassium nitrate–are packaged and sold as agricultural fertilizers and other plant nutrients.

The Problem

Although the city of Cuba is geographically located directly over the Rio Puerco deep water aquifer, it cannot be used as a water source for the city. With over 13,000 parts per million of sodium, calcium, sulfates and other minerals, the aquifer water is not potable or usable for agriculture. Consequently, the city has been forced to pump water from a different, shallow aquifer. But not only is the water insufficient to meet the quantity needed by the community, it is also extremely poor quality.

“It’s been frustrating to know that we sit over an almost endless supply of water, but we cannot use it,” says Cuba Mayor Rick Velarde. “The solutions that the KNeW Company provide may literally be life savers for this town. With the KNeW process operating, we will not only survive, we will thrive.”

The Solution

The Rio Puerco aquifer is 2,700 feet deep and will supply Cuba with 450,000 gallons per day of clean, fresh drinking water after treatment. The Cuba water treatment plant is expected to treat over 183 million gallons of unpotable brackish water per year while producing over $13 million in revenue from fertilizer and surplus treated water sales. Surplus water can be stored and made available to local ranchers and farmers.

Once constructed, the operation of the plant will create new good-paying jobs for local residents. The plant will create as many as 30 new jobs with annual payroll estimated to be $700,000. KNeW will manage the fertilizer production and sales.

“We are very excited about the potential of the Cuba treatment plant,” says KNeW Company CEO, Aubrey Howard. “The future of Cuba, New Mexico looks bright for the first time in many years. Providing clean water to the town supports our mission to help communities thrive. But the economic impact our plant will have in the form of new jobs and industry means that the town can grow. We’re extremely proud of that.”

Next Steps

The City and KNeW have qualified for special funding programs from the USDA, EPA and New Mexico State Water Revolving Fund. The City and KNeW will determine the best source for funding. The KNeW Company is currently working on the Feasibility Study, which is required to secure funding.

“This is just the beginning of the potential applications of the KNeW technology to solving water poverty problems,” said Howard. “And we are certain that our technology has applications around the globe. We are part of the solution of lifting people and countries out of water poverty and improving public health and safety throughout the world through access to clean, fresh drinking water.”


About Cuba, New Mexico

Cuba is a village in Sandoval CountyNew Mexico, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the village population was 735. It is part of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area. Located off the busy 550 highway, Cuba has several motels, restaurants and bars. In 2005 and 2019, the National Christmas Tree was harvested from the Santa Fe National Forest near Cuba.[2]