U.S. Water News Online
HARLINGEN, Texas -- Studies show that it may cost South
Texas cities and farmers $3 billion to fund water conservation
projects and they're woefully unprepared to handle that kind expense,
a Rio Grande Valley official has said.
``There's a lot of challenges,'' said Ken Jones, executive
director of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council.
The Rio Grande Regional Water Planning Group released the study
into a 5 0-year water conservation plan at a meeting in Zapata, Jones
The study by the state-appointed board representing an
eight-county South Texas region estimated average area cities could
afford to pay 50 percent of the project's total cost, Jones said. The
region's irrigation districts could afford to pay about one-third of
``It's extremely important that these things get completed as soon
as possible,'' Jones said. He cited the ongoing drought and Mexico's
failure to comply with a 1944 treaty that requires it to release
water that flows from Chihuahua state tributaries into the Rio
``With budget restrictions at the state and federal level, it's
not easy to address.''
About $200 million would go toward water conservation projects
such as the construction of underground pipelines and the concrete
lining of irrigation canals that would reduce the loss of water to
seepage and evaporation, he said.
Many of the region's cities will have to purchase additional water
rights to carry water to residents' homes, officials said.
Jones said other municipal costs could include construction of
desalinization plants, limited-flow plumbing fixtures and promotional
campaigns aimed at water conservation.
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