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TribBlog: Waiting on the Water War

The city of Fort Stockton and Fort Stockton Holdings, the company owned by Clayton Williams Jr. and family, have agreed to postpone a hearing on the company's permit to pump trillions of gallons of water from the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer.

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Fort Stockton Holdings, the company owned by oil tycoon Clayton Williams Jr., agreed this week that a public hearing on its permit application to pump water from the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer should be postponed.

The company has asked the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District for a permit to pump more than 47,000 acre-feet of water from the aquifer annually and transport it outside of Pecos County to sell for profit. (An acre-foot is 325,820 gallons.) The city of Fort Stockton has voiced concerns over the project, alleging it would adversely affect the city’s water supply. The city is waiting on the results of a $300,000 study by Daniel B. Stephens & Associates, Inc. it hopes will back up its claims.

“After learning of the city’s concerns, Fort Stockton Holdings has decided to support the city’s request for the postponement of the hearing until January,” said the company's president, Paul Latham.

Fort Stockton Holdings currently holds a permit to pump the same amount of water for irrigation purposes but must reapply to change its use. It commissioned the Thornhill Group, a Round Rock-based consulting firm, to conduct its own study and prove the project would be safe.

“The study and common sense tells us that if we are only changing the use, not the amount permitted, that the city’s water supply will not be impacted any differently than in the past,” Latham said.

The district could vote on the postponement as early as next week.

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