Water in West Texas, A Plan for the Future

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS- It's a 21st century question, could West Texas run out of water? Hydrologists say not unless there is a major drought.

"There is no need to panic," Simone Keil, a hydrologist with Freese & Nichols said, "but when the next big drought comes who knows?"

Keil says according to a 50 year plan outlined by Region F, there will be enough water to cover most needs in 2060 but there will be unmet irrigation demands. Keil says it's one area the planning group is looking to tackle.

"There looking at different crop types, that use less water, they're looking at different irrigation methods and equipment that uses less water," she said.

Stuart Pervis, Director of Utilities for the City of Midland says they're already looking at other sources of water.

"CRMWD only has so much water," he said. "So we're looking ahead to say where does the next water come from."

Pervis says the city is working with the Midland Independent School District to cut its water usage by 30 percent. The city is supplying the materials for sprinkler systems at a a cost of 500,000 dollars over several years. Midland is also working with Midland College to install a small water reclamation plant at the Midland Airpark. The plan will provide water for the lawns at the campus.

"Drill additional wells, develop lakes, conserve more water, reuse waste water, desalinate water---anything that we can to stretch the supply," David Meesey, Manager of Regional Water Planning for the Texas Water Development Board, said.

Looking ahead the work is on to find more water, conserve existing supplies, and improve desalinization technology.

"All those things, are a part of the puzzle," Purvis said.  "We are looking at that and developing for the next 50-75 years. What's our water supply going to look like? Where is it going to come from?"

Purvis says how to use water factors into the equation.

"Don't waste water," he said, "We have ordinances that you can't get water in the street."

Midland and Odessa charge the heaviest water users more for their water which acts as an incentive to curb water usage.

"Turn off your faucet when you brush your teeth," Freese & Nichols Hydrologist Jon Albreight, said. "There are a lot of little things you can do just to conserve water."

Andrea Goodson with the City of Odessa says the city has never had to ration water due to drought, but encourages the city to conserve.

"Check for leaks, repair all leaks," Goodson said. "There are some things you can do with your shower head that can help reduce the use of water."