Fri, Dec 19, 2014 01:14
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More Important Than Oil
More Important Than Oil   | water, drought, desert, science, economics, diminish, water table, aquifer,

Supply and demand.  The supply of water continues to dwindle. The demand increases.

We’ve understood that at least five decades.  When I was a kid in Snyder, the dwindling water table was something so inculcated within the local culture that I worried about water, or lack of water, by the time I was five years old.   

The population of Texas then was less than half than it is now.  We knew then there wasn’t enough water.  However, we subscribed to the mantra that science and economic demand will create solutions. We still subscribe to that mantra.  

Now, I see that Snyder is worried that it will run out of water in three months. Lake J.B. Thomas was never a huge reservoir of water, even when I was a kid.  If I recall correctly, the lake never has exceeded 37 percent of its capacity, a peak it reached 20 years ago.  When I checked the level at the time of this writing, it was at 1.37 percent capacity.

Because of the water shortage in West Texas, Big Spring is building a treatment plant that will shuttle treated sewage (called raw water) into the water system for Snyder, Big Spring, Odessa and Midland.

It’s not just West Texas.  The strain of drought and population press the entire state.

Other wells are running out.  The Lower Colorado River Authority announced the water well used by 1,100 residents of Spicewood Beach (near Austin) will run out of water in a few days.  The announcement was just before some major storms came through, so hopefully the wells will be recharged a bit.

 And now the Brazos River Authority, to the opposition of farmers, landowners and Dow Chemical, wants rights to all the water in the Brazos. The timing, of course, has thrown the weight of the worst drought in this modern state’s history behind it. Two administrative law judges believe the application should be denied. The TCEQ wants approval.

In 50 years, Texas’ population will double again, barring major catastrophe, upheaval or radical lifestyle or legal changes.  Assuming we still drink water, from where will next drink come?  Supply diminishes. Demand grows. Science examines and experiments. The race continues.