By Camaron Abundes
ANDREWS- You won't find water sold in barrels, but in Andrews, city leaders say water is increasingly becoming a commodity.
"It's bought and sold just like a commodity, just like oil," City Manager Glen Hackler said. "We think we have a 40-50 year water supply with our existing sources."
Hackler hopes to add 25 more years on to the city's water supply projections. The city plans to drill monitor water wells on University of Texas lands south of town off FM 1788. The project will cost about $200,000 to drill the wells. If a 1950's study is correct and there is a significant amount of water beneath the brush and mesquite, the lease will be folded into the existing lease the city holds on its well field north of town.
"Now we compete to find water and to pay for water with companies that might want to ship it to another part of the state," Hackler said.
Texland Great Plains Water owns the land next to the city's wellfield. The company legally pumps millions of gallons of water to sell.
"We've seen our water levels go down." Hackler was quick to point out the company has the right to pump but says this has forced the city to double it's efforts to find additional sources of water.
"I haven't ever worried about it. I've lived here all my life." Resident Lisa Dushane said she doesn't worry about the city's supply of water.
Hackler says the city pumps about two million gallons of water each day.
"I think the average person takes for granted that they turn on the faucet and the water comes out," he said. "When it comes to city services, you have to be looking generations down the road."