Tribpedia: Water Supply

Population growth and several droughts in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to more concern over Texas's water supply. Debate over the issue typically finds landowners on one side, environmentalists on the other. Environmental groups support restrictions on water pumping and water use, because droughts proved the risk of a low water supply, and because of the risk it poses for animal species. Landowners argue that pumping limitations could damage the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers.

Much debate also surrounds the underground Edwards Aquifer, the only source of water for the San Antonio area. A legal battle that started in 1991 resulted in a ruling in favor of environmental group the Sierra Club, which warned against overpumping, because of its threat on endangered species and a contamination threat to the aquifer.

In 1993, the Texas Legislature created a regional Edwards Aquifer Authority to regulate pumping from the aquifer and protect the reservoir from pollution. The law was upheld by the Texas Supreme Court in 1996. Landowners objected to the decision.


Brackish water flows from an unplugged abandoned well outside of Imperial in Pecos County — one of several in the area likely drilled for oil but later tapped for water.
A view of Boehmer Lake in June 2016. It’s not really a lake, but rather the putrid product of an abandoned well that’s spewed brackish water for years. Drilled decades ago for oil, it was later used for irrigation. The Railroad Commission says it can't plug the well because it’s no longer in its jurisdiction.
The 13 West Texas counties that could benefit from a water pipeline out of Val Verde County. Docks on the edge of Lake Kickapoo, which is less than one-third full, no longer reach the water in Holiday, Feb 3, 2014. The Colorado River east of Longhorn Dam, where it flows freely towards the Gulf of Mexico, in Austin, Tx. Longhorn Dam, the last dam in the Texas highland lakes reservoir system before the Colorado River flows freely towards the Gulf of Mexico, in Austin, Tx. An orange circle on the floor of a raw water pump station on Lake Texoma indicates the state line between Texas and Oklahoma. A raw water pump station at Lake Texoma on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The station is bisected by the state line between Texas and Oklahoma, complicating the transportation of water to its intended destination in Texas. A solar field provides power for a water heating system and xeriscaping on a Fort Bliss Army installation. US soldiers sit under a tree on Ft. Bliss Army installation on April 23, 2012. The Army contracted energy efficiency consulting company Johnson Controls for the installation of a $16 million solar energy system. With the improvements Ft. Bliss, which has about 30,000 soldiers and 1.1 million acres, is expected to save $39 million in energy costs over the next 24 years. Pictured is the parade grounds with the southernmost tip of the Rocky Mountains in the background on Ft. Bliss Army installation on April 23, 2012. Despite the arid climate, sprinklers sometimes water grass during the daytime, when evaporation rates climb. Left to right: Leland Stukey Kelly Young, J.O. Dawdy and Kirby Lewis photographed in Floydada, TX, on Mar. 8, 2012. Keith Tilley, director of public works for the town of Groesbeck , photographed at Fort Parker Lake i Fort Parker State Park. Cows in a field in the Nevada desert. Carolyn Brittin, the Texas Water Development Board official in charge of overseeing the state's five-year water plan Purple tanks at a Fort Worth wastewater treatment plant signal reclaimed water, which the plant began producing in the last few months. Waste water treated with chlorine sloshes around at Fort Worth's waste water treatment plant. The plant began producing reclaimed water only in the last several months. The Chester W. Ditto Golf Course in Arlington, Texas, recently began using reclaimed water from Fort Worth's wastewater treatment plant. Children in Llano, Texas, can still swim in the town reservoir but due to low water levels can no longer jump off the dam. In Llano Texas outdoor watering is banned due to severe drought. At Thunderbird Resort on Lake Buchanan, a 15-foot gap has developed between this swimming platform and the water line, as the lake has fallen to 12 feet below full. Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values. Floaters splash and stay cool at "Rockin' the River-Live on the Trinity", a free event sponsored by the Trinity River Vision. Midland, Texas, homeowner, Jason Smith, holds a handful of dead St. Augustine grass pulled from his front yard. Midland is currently instituting voluntary water rationing. Smith, a high school science teacher and football coach, said he is reluctant to waste water on the dying lawn. A pump house at Lake J.B. Thomas sits high and dry with almost no water remaining to pump. The lake level is at 4.60 percent. Trees that were once mostly submerged are now high and dry in the southwestern portion of O.H. Ivie Reservoir southeast of Ballinger Texas. The reservoir is less than 30 percent full, as of April 20 2011. Jacob's Well, Wimberley Texas. Saturn V rocket engine in Houston, TX. The Hearts Bluff Mitigation Bank as pictured with the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir. The Blue Hole springs in Wimberley

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