Water Study May Change the Tide in Fort Stockton Water Fight

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON - An ongoing water fight in Fort Stockton may be in for a change.

For almost a year now, the city of Fort Stockton has fought against letting Clayton Williams' company pump water out of Pecos County but a new water study is showing it might not be as bad as they thought.

"The study showed several things I think that were a little bit different than what we anticipated," Interim City Manager, Doug May, said. "One of the things is the water level is actually rising in this aquifer which we did not anticipate. Right now, it's going up. The study shows that they do anticipate some loss in level, but not what we anticipated it might have shown."

So far, the city has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars opposing oilman Clayton Williams' plan to pump water out of Pecos County.

After hearing about the study, the company said in a statement: "We are pleased that the study the City of Fort Stockton commissioned confirmed the scientific information which was provided by Fort Stockton Holdings as to water quantity. We are confident that continued study by the City will also confirm that water quality will not be an issue in the future."

But Fort Stockton doesn't agree on that last point.

Right now, when you fill a glass of water in town the city said it's top rate, but their study also shows if more water is pumped out, it just might not stay as clear without a cost.

"The one definitive thing that the study shows is there would be some degradation of the quality of water," May said. "The total number of dissolved solids in the water is increasing as the amount of water leaves."

The City uses a reverse osmosis plant to purify it's water.

It's an expensive process and Interim City Manager Doug May fears it could cost more.

"Basically it's a system where you're filtering out the impurities in the water," he said. "The more impurities you have in the water, the faster you go through the filters that filters those impurities out."

The City Council is now reviewing the study. So whether they'll keep spending money to fight Williams' plan is unknown.

"The City's primary job is to protect the citizens water supply and to make sure it's take care of for a long period of time," May said.

He said the City Council will hold public hearings and take community input before making a decision by the end of the year.