Water in West Texas Part I

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS- Most of us pull the knob on the faucet expecting a flood of tap water to pour into our sinks but many people don't give the water they use a second thought.

"Water in Texas always has been serious but never more so than now," David Meesey, Manager of the Regional Water Planning for the Texas Water Development Board, said.

Meesey traveled from Austin for the October Region F planning meeting. Region F covers 32 counties in West Texas and is one of 16 regional planning groups in Texas.

"It's something that's never going to go away, it's something we're always going to have to deal with," Jon Albreight, a hydrologist with Freese & Nichols, said about the need for long range water use plans.

Albreight presented a study on the Pecan Bayou at the October meeting. Dozens of scientists and board members listened to presentations and talked about various needs and plans.

"Even in the short-term if we had a drought recur, a bad drought such as we had in the 1950's, we would not have enough water in much of Texas even tomorrow," Meesey said.

You don't need to be a scientist to understand the need for a plan.

"We try to ensure, there will be enough water for the different uses by all Texans," he said.

In 2000, the region used about 195 billion gallons of water in one year but the demand is growing. According to the Texas Water Development board, there will only be enough water to meet about 77 percent of the projected needs of the region starting in 2010.

"We have economic studies that show what the economic impact to the economy would be from doing nothing, and we had a recurrence of the drought of record it would be a multi-billion dollar loss to our economy, but we don't intend for that to happen," Meesey says through planning the region can anticipate the needs of the next 50 years.

The current plan calls for strategies like conservation, desalinization, and reuse. According to a Region F report, the supply will meet the demand in most areas other than agriculture in 2060.