Three West Texas Cities to Partner Up to Share Water

by Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - The drought in West Texas keeps on stretching on. That has many people questioning how long the Basin's water resources will stay around and how will agriculture be impacted with no moisture in the soil.

On Thursday, Midland officials announced a plan that will help bring in more water and keep it going longer.

It was announced that the cities of Midland, Abilene and San Angelo are thinking about entering a partnership to share each other's water for the future.

The cities will work together to examine each other's water needs and explore ways they can share each other's water.

"If it helps Abilene to get a dam in and we can get water out of that dam, can we help them do that and that supplies us with water too," Midland Director of Utilities, Stuart Purvis, said. "It's a longer-range thing."

"We're not a plush oasis of water to begin with," Midland City Manager, Courtney Sharp, said. "So being out in West Texas in a semi-arid condition, water's always on the forefront. It's an opportunity to partner with those communities and see what we can do to address that drought and those water needs."

The cities will put the idea to their respective City Councils at the beginning of April and if it's approved a formal partnership will be signed.

Then about a six-to-nine-month process will begin in which engineers will visit all three cities, gauge their water needs and figure out how to transport water between them.

They will also be there to make sure no water contaminants will be spread between cities.

With the cotton growing season coming up in April and May, many farmers can't plant their crops without moisture in the soil and might have to risk their crops dying by dry-planting them.

This is putting much of the Tall City's agriculture at a standstill.

"You have to have moisture in order for that cotton to come up," Zan Matthies, Midland County's Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, said. "They're kind of sitting on their thumbs waiting to see what happens. They'd like to get out there and work the fields but, again, you do that, and then everything that you've worked for blows away with the first good wind storm that comes along."

But with this proposed partnership, Midland officials are hoping more water will be brought in to spread in both drinking and irrigation, by sharing with the other cities.

"Water's, water, so it's drinking water, it's irrigating our lawns and hopefully we will do that a little different in the future. We're gonna have to starting April 1st here in Midland and Odessa and all this area, actually," Midland Mayor, Wes Perry, sad.

Local agriculture agents said they'll be waiting and watching the rain later in the year to see if there will be any damage to the consumer if cotton can't be properly grown.

Midland officials told NewsWest 9 more specifics on the partnership will be hammered down if the agreement becomes formal after April.