West Texas Running Out of Water, Tighter Restrictions Could Be On The Way

by Anayeli Ruiz 
NewsWest 9

Running out of lake water will bring stricter restrictions. These days, water restrictions are nothing new, but next year things could get a lot worse. The Colorado River Municipal Water District is looking at taking drastic measures.

"We're operating on the worst case scenario. We have got to plan and prepare that we are not going to get any rain and we are not going to get any inflow," John Grant, with the Colorado River Municipal Water District, said.

It looks like the worst case scenario could come true; predictions for rain for the coming year are bleak. Experts say not to expect much more rain then what we've seen during the drought.

"That's what the National Weather Service is saying. At the district here, we can do a lot of things but one thing we haven't figured out yet is to make it rain," Grant said.

The lakes will eventually dry up and that means we will run out of lake water by next year. That has CRMWD looking for new ways to bring in water.

"That's going to leave us to our existing groundwater. The new groundwater supply from Ward County should be online in December of 2012. We just started the construction of our Big Spring raw water production facility. It should be in service and online by December of 2012," Grant said.

The hope is that both projects will be up and running when the lakes run dry and residents will have to make changes too, like cutting back on use. CRMWD says it's the only way to make sure we have enough to tide us over.

"When they both come online, we're looking at maybe five million gallons a day from ground water in Ward County and two million gallons a day from the Big Spring Plant Project. That's 47 million gallons a day. Our winter time use is somewhere between 40-42 million a day," Grant said.

If no major rains hit the Basin, CRMWD says they'll have to cut back on delivery for next year. They will deliver the same amount of water in the summer that they do in the winter and that means major cutbacks for cities.

"That will make serious impacts to outdoor watering but how we will define that will be dependent on what levels they give us," Stuart Purvis with the City of Midland, said.

In the meantime, officials say all you can do is save the water you have.

"If we all use alot of extra water right now, all that's doing is bringing the end faster. It's bringing that closer and faster, they are going to drop the limits because there is only so much water in that lake," Purvis said.

NewsWest 9 attempted to contact the City of Odessa and Big Spring to hear their plans but neither was available for comment.