Decline in Water Use Comes With a Price

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA--As drought conditions get worse, cities like Midland and Odessa are urging residents to keep buckling down, should the unthinkable happen.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, right now, we are the driest we can get, Level D-4 or exceptional. Cities like Midland and Odessa have already beefed up their water restrictions, but the question is, "can it get worse?" and if so, "how much?"

"I don't know how long this is going to last," Stuart Purvis, Director of Utilities for the City of Midland, said.

Water usage has become the talk of the town. It seems Midland residents have heeded the warnings.

"We've gone past inconvenient and gone into painful. People are having to make some very hard decisions about their landscaping, and for that, I understand and I appreciate them, being willing to do that," Purvis said.

Odessa residents seem to be having a harder time grasping the severity of the situation.

According to Public Information Coordinator, Andrea Goodson, "I don't know the reason why. I do know that complaints keep coming in, citations continue to get issued, notices of violation continue to get issued."

Right now, West Texas is at a D-4, or exceptional drought conditions, according to the experts. It's got everyone praying hard for some relief.

"We need a heavy rainfall event on the right water shed, on the right area, to fill those lakes up. It has happened before," Purvis said.

If you do the math, at our current level of drought and the month we're in now, it would take between 15 and 18 inches of rain to put an end to this drought by October.

Until that happens, folks need to ask themselves some serious questions. Is this the time or the year to add new landscape, sod or bushes? Midland and Odessa officials say the answer should be clear and up to you.

"I can't tell them if they should or shouldn't, but they should consider that, I think, because I don't know where the restrictions are going," Purvis said.

Goodson added, "There's no ignorance anymore. There's no excuse for ignorance. It's out there."

Many people have been wondering if and when water wells will be included in the water restrictions. Purvis says, as far as Midland is concerned they do not affect the water supply and he does not see them being an issue. He added, if people spend the money to drill one on their property, they should have the right to pump it.