T-Bar Ranch Pipeline to Provide Water to Midland for Decades

T-Bar Ranch Pipeline to Provide Water to Midland for Decades

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND-  What began with a purchase of land in Winkler County more than 50 years ago has become source of a groundwater supply that Midland Mayor-Elect Jerry Morales said could replenish the city for about 40 years.

The pipeline, which runs 67 miles from Winkler County to Midland County adds about 30 to 40 million gallons of water daily that Midland needs.

"It's a great feeling knowing we have water security," Morales said. 

But that wasn't always the case. For the past three years, Midland has been restricting water usage among their citizens. During that time, the residents pulled through, reducing their water use by half. 

Prior to the T-Bar Pipeline coming online in December, the city mainly relied on the Colorado River Municipal Water District. The T-Bar Ranch Project will augment that supply. This is the third fresh water source coming into Midland.  

"Water, I've been telling everyone is the new 'blue gold.' It's very expensive. Water is not ever going to be cheap I think again," Morales said.

In fact, the infrastructure built to bring water to Midlanders cost the city about $200 million so the recent increase in water rates is in an effort to start paying off that debt.

But, "like CRMWD, where we do get our water, whenever they increase their rates to the city, all we're doing is increasing to at least break even," Morales said.

Now that Midland is in a good place with their water situation, the Mayor has plans for using it to make the land look more attractive.

"We have some wonderful parks. We want our kids and all of our citizens to be able to use them but it's sometimes hard to play on that dry crusty grass," he said.

So he's pushing for the City Council to possibly extend the hours for watering lawns on the two days allotted in order to make the parks greener.  Going forward though, he said everyone needs to remember that the city is in a drought and members need to realize water is a precious resource in this desert. 

"But we are in good shape today," Morales said, adding that it's all due to previous council members looking ahead. 

Last year's City Council purchased land right next to the T-Bar Ranch that has a water supply that could last Midland 25 more years. Morales says they'll be working on creating the infrastructure in the next few years. Officials are also expecting some help from the state since proposition six was passed last November.