statesman in-depth: water management
Governments seek long-term supply to keep up with growth.
Cities, firms chase groundwater rights By Ciara O’Rourke and Asher Price SAN MARCOS — Amid a persistent drought that has rattled Texans about water supplies, cities and investors are jockeying to purchase millions of gallons of underground water and pipe it to rapidly growing communities.
The Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency is among the latest to enter the fray, paying to secure water it isn’t expected to use for a decade or more. The agency isn’t alone. The rush to secure water rights across Central Texas means millions are being paid each year for unpumped water.
“If you’re a city, you still have to make sure industry will keep coming to town. It’s a matter of economic life or death to you. You have to make decisions, and the easy answers are gone,” said Robert Cullick, a consultant on water and public infrastructure projects.
James Earp, assistant city manager for the city of Kyle, said that if the city’s population grows as expected, Kyle’s
Allen Farley of Springs Hill Water, a contractor for the Canyon Regional Water Authority, puts oil in a well pump Wednesday at Wells Ranch near Leesville. Several wells on the ranch pump water from the CarrizoWilcox Aquifer to Canyon Regional’s Wells Ranch Water Treatment Plant.