News Around the Water Well (Posted By Gary Cutrer)

Four States—Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana—Fight over Red River Water

By Sadhbh Walshe, The (UK) Guardian, May 9, 2013

The United States Supreme Court has been called upon to settle a battle that is raging over access to the Red River which serves the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The heart of the matter is that water-starved Texas feels that it is entitled under the Red River compact, which was signed by all four states, to billions of gallons of water from the Oklahoma side of the river basin. For its part Oklahoma insists that Texas is not doing enough to conserve.


A Water Generation Gap Portends Confrontation Between Texas’ Past, Future

By Ari Phillips, Texas Climate News, May 15, 2013

Many experts say as climate patterns shift and populations grow, global thirst for water will be unquenchable by mid-century. In arid regions like North Africa and Aus tralia that time is now. In Texas a perfect storm is brewing as the population booms and water resources deplete, and many people believe water will soon overtake oil and natural gas as the next major natural-resource play in the state. Already, inves tors are making sustained efforts to secure water assets and rights. At the same time, often without weighing the long-term impacts, Texans continue to use vast quantities of water for lush lawns and poorly suited agriculture, while significant amounts are lost because of overtaxed infrastructure like leaky pipelines and pipes.


Water-Reuse Projects Move Forward, Despite Concerns

Reports from Texas Tribune, Lubbock Avalanche Journal

The idea of turning treated sewage into drinking water may give some people ause, but desperate times . . . Cities pursuing this strategy for water reuse include El Paso, Wichita Falls and Big Spring A $13 million reclamation plant in Big Spring began operation in mid May, convert ing sewage wastewater into drinking-water by mixing with lake water and retreating, according to press reports. The plan adds 2 million gallons daily to the supply for a 500,000-customer water district that uses 40 million to 80 million gallons a day.. The district services a cities of Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, Snyder and Stanton.


Bill Seeks to Address Mexico Water Debt

By Laura B. Martinez, The Brownsville Herald, May 15, 2013

Federal legislation has been filed that would prevent the U.S. government from extending benefits to Mexico in an attempt to get the U.S. State Department more involved in the ongoing water-sharing dispute between the two countries. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, filed an amendment to the Water Resources Development Act that would prohibit the U.S. secretary of state from extending benefits to Mexico if the State Department fails to submit quarterly paperwork to Congress that describes Mexico’s efforts to comply with a water-sharing treaty that governs the countries’ use of common water sources, such as the Rio Grande and its tributaries.


In Parched Southwest, Anxious Wait for Summer Rains

By Andrew Freedman, Climate Central website, May 10, 2013

On the thirsty rangelands of Arizona and New Mexico, which have been mired in an on-again, off-again drought since 1999, ranchers and water managers are hoping for an unusually wet summer monsoon season that will help make up for this winter’s lackluster snowpack. Reservoirs have been depleted to near-record lows, and the major rivers and tributaries are running at barely a trickle, making the summer rainfall season crucial to avert potentially severe water shortages, at least temporarily.
However, if the past two summer monsoon seasons are any guide to what’s ahead, meaningful drought relief may be wishful thinking . . .


Texas Groundwater Levels Suffer Sharp Drop, Study Finds

By Kate Galbraith, Texas Tribune, May 7, 2013

Groundwater levels in Texas’ major aquifers dropped considerably between 2010 and 2011, as the state’s drought intensified, according to a report published recently by the Texas Water Development Board. The report showed significant declines in the Ogallala Aquifer, which underlies much of the Panhandle. The water board monitors 26 wells in the Ogallala, and water levels dropped in all but one during the 2010-11 period. The average drop was 3.5 feet, with a median decline of 1.8 feet . . .


Texas Water Shortages Could Put Limit on Fracking

By Nathan Bernier KUT, Austin, News May 2, 2013

Shortages of water could limit the growth of fracking in Texas, according to a report from Ceres, a nonprofit group that advises investors about corporations’ sustainability practices. Monika Freyman, who wrote the report for Ceres (, says that fracking accounts for more than 20 percent of the water used in some Texas counties.

Monitored Water Supply Reservoirs in Texas’ Colorado River Basin 28.8 Percent Full

Texas Water Development Board, Water Data for Texas, May 22, 2013

According to the Texas Water Development Board’s Water Data for Texas website, lake levels in reservoirs feeding the Colorado River average 28.8 percent full, with the few constant level lakes in the group helping the average. West Texas reservoirs Lake Champion Creek at 7.1 percent full, E.V. Spence at 4.5 percent, Twin Buttes at 1.1 percent, O.C. Fisher at 0.8 percent and J.B. Thomas at 0.1 percent made up the bottom five lakes on the list as far as amount of water retained. East Texas lake levels are improving and are up compared to 2011 levels.


More Storage, More Supplies: Lubbock and Lake Texoma Success Stories

Texas Water Development Board website

When water supplies allocated by the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority started to diminish, the City of Lubbock looked to other sources to supplement its water. Using more than $83 million in TWDB financing, the city was able to tap into Lake Alan Henry and build 60 miles of raw water lines, pumping stations and a treatment plant.
The project was completed in 2007 and filled Lubbock’s requirements: a program with less red tape and better interest rates. The Lake Alan Henry project now serves 230,000 Lubbock residents, users in smaller nearby communities, Reese Technology Center, Texas Tech University and cotton-related industries . . .


Tree Ring Study Reveals Long-Term Droughts

A new tree-ring study, led by the University of Arizona, reveals that long-term droughts in Southwestern North America often mean a failure of both summer and winter rains. According to the new data, both summer and winter rains were sparse year after year during the severe, multi-decadal droughts occurring from 1539 to 2008.

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