Local Communities Prepare for Possible Water Shortage

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

Water is a precious commodity in West Texas, one that always seems to be in short supply.

Some experts say global warming could mean even more water shortages in the future and local communities say they ready just in case.

Local farmer Lynn Halfmann uses about 450 gallons of water per minute during harvest season.

"We only get about 14 inches of rain a year," Halfmann said. "We have very fertile land here, good fertile land but we need a little bit more water than what Mother Nature's going to provide for us."

Now, the Natural Resources Defense Council predicts things could get worse. By 2050, it says global warming could bring an extreme shortage to West Texas.

"The only consensus that we've been able to gather is that the dryer periods will be dryer and wetter will be wetter," Midland's Director of Utilities Stuart Purvis, said. "As to the long term effects? We don't know."

Purvis isn't sure if global warming is a problem yet, but he says Midland has a plan anyway.    
From new conservation efforts, to recycling the old water and bringing it in from elsewhere, he says the city is on the job.

Andrew's City Manager Glen Hackler says his city is doing the same.

"I believe the salt water that's under us is going to be our answer, our truly long term solution," Hackler said.

Many times, shortages hit farmers the hardest. So they're already doing their part. To conserve water local farmers use irrigation pipes and put them under their crops so the water doesn't evaporate. On top of that, they also use wider rows with some crops like cotton to gather and use rainwater.

Whatever happens, Halfmann thinks it'll be alright.

"I'm not sure if that global warming isn't a Chicken Little theory," he said. "I think mankind can figure out how we can desalinize water and how we can provide water so we can make crops and so forth."

Global warming or not, local communities say they're prepared.