Water News (Posted By Mike Mecke)

Authority Seals Water Deal With Pickens

By Kevin Welch    Amarillo Globe-News    Dec. 29, 2011

The largest water transaction in Texas Panhandle history became final Thursday. The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority paid wealthy oil and gas man T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Water $103 million for about 211,000 acres of water rights. The deal covers about 4 trillion gallons of water.

Amarillo is one of 11 cities that make up the authority. It uses about 40 percent of the water produced by the group and will repay that much of the bonds used to finance the deal. Lubbock is the other large member of the group that started out using water from Lake Meredith in 1965 to supplement the cities’ own supplies.


The EPA Has a Duty to Protect Aquifers

By Adam Friedman and Jim Blackburn    Houston Chronicle    Dec. 28, 2011

In a recent op-ed, the executive director of the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association argued that “inconsistencies in Environmental Protection Agency regulations are hampering our ability to access Texas’ uranium reserves and are making it nearly impossible for companies to operate.”

We represent Goliad County in a dispute over uranium mining and groundwater contamination, and we challenge the accuracy of that piece. In Goliad County, where one proposed uranium mining operation is seeking EPA approval, groundwater is the sole source for water supply. If the drinking water were to be contaminated by uranium mining, there would be no surface water alternative. There are about 5,000 water wells used for residential, domestic and livestock purposes in Goliad County. There are approximately 50 wells within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of the proposed mining boundary, with many more within two miles.


2011 Was Driest Year on Record for Texas

By Eric Berger    San Antonio Express-News    Jan. 7, 2012

The National Weather Service says 2011 was Texas’ driest year on record as well as its second hottest. The agency said Friday the average rainfall for the drought-stricken state last year was 14.88 inches. The previous driest average total was in 1917 with 14.99 inches.

The weather service says 2011’s average temperature was 67.2 degrees. Texas’ warmest year on record was in 1921 with an average temperature of 67.5 degrees.



Eddie Baggs: Nature’s Water Filter—Land—Is Disappearing

By Eddie Baggs   Denton Record-Chronicle   Jan. 7, 2012

As the population increases so does the demand for water. Our reliance on water for agriculture and household use has been very prevalent during the severe drought across the state this year.

Texas has more than 191,000 miles of rivers and almost 2 million acres of lakes. The state’s rangelands play an important role in the quality of the water we depend on. Rangelands, grasslands, shrub lands, marshes, deserts and woodlands account for about 60 percent of Texas’ land. These rangelands support livestock production as well as habitat for native wildlife, but most importantly they serve as the state’s watershed . . .



Is De-Sal the Answer?

By Amy Hardberger    Texas Water Solutions      Jan. 6, 2012

As concerns about water supply continue, more and more stories seem to point to desalination as the answer. Until now, most Texas desal plants are small and regionally located, but a seawater desalination plant will open on South Padre Island in 2014 again opening conversations about importing water from the coast to Central Texas. El Paso is the largest municipal user of desal technology in Texas. The plant on Fort Bliss is capable of treating 27.5 million gallons of water a day for regional users. Like other technologies, desalination can be a useful tool for water resources, but there are other important considerations to be made before it is hailed as the final solution.


To date, one of the stopping points for using desal as a water supply alternative is it’s price. Treatment of brackish groundwater can be 4 times as expensive as freshwater supply and the price increases considerably for salt water. Of course price is also contingent on location. Brackish groundwater often has the advantage of being local without additional pipeline costs, whereas some discussed projects such as hauling treated Gulf water instate would have exponential costs added for pipeline construction and transport. Property owners along the way might also wonder where that pipeline is going to be located and through what legal means will it be placed there . . .

Because of the pricing and energy drawbacks of desalination, other supply options such as water efficiency programs should be fully implemented before additional treatment plants are built . . .


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