U.S. Water News Online
LUBBOCK, Texas -- The main supplier of water to 11
communities in drought-parched West Texas wants to place hundreds of
small wells along its pipeline between Amarillo and Lamesa over the
next 20 years.
The board of the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority, which
has been looking for other sources of water as Lake Meredith remains
low, approved a study of the proposed project at a meeting in
"We just need other sources of water,'' water authority general
manager Kent Satterwhite said. "This is just a study at this point,
but it's positive.''
The move comes two months after Dallas oil tycoon and Panhandle
landowner Boone Pickens declined to sell the authority water rights
he owns or controls on about 110,000 Panhandle acres, Satterwhite
The water authority supplies water to about 500,000 people,
two-thirds of the population of the South Plains and the Panhandle.
It supplies water to Pampa, Borger, Amarillo, Plainview, Lubbock,
Slaton, Tahoka, O'Donnell, Lamesa, Brownfield and Levelland.
If the project goes forward, up to 400 wells would be drilled
along some of the water authority's 400-mile pipeline, all of them
south of Amarillo. That would reduce the demand from the lake and a
well field in Roberts County, allowing the greater portion of that
water to go to Amarillo.
The next step will be to approach landowners along the pipeline.
"I am not going to assume anything here but if we can get some
water at a fair price, I think this project will work,'' Satterwhite
He declined to speculate on when wells might be drilled but hopes
to obtain permits to pump from several water conservation districts
within a year. Test wells can be drilled without permits and could be
drilled later this year, Satterwhite said.
The smaller wells would pump far less water than those in Roberts
County. Those wells pump as much as 3,000 gallons per minute. The
wells along the pipeline would draw no more than 200 gallons per
Most of the cost of water is for pumping energy. Minimal pumping
would be needed to deliver water from the smaller wells because the
pipeline south of Amarillo uses gravity flow. To get water from Lake
Meredith and the Roberts County wells, pumps must lift it about 800
Water rights have long been a hot topic in West Texas.
In May 2002, Pickens and a group known collectively as Mesa Water
Inc., obtained long-sought permits for as many as 124 wells on land
in Roberts County. Pickens has identified North Texas and San Antonio
as likely purchasers but is still looking for a buyer, Pickens
spokesman Jay Rosser said.
Pickens has five years to find a buyer in Texas or the permits
In Texas, a landowner is allowed to withdraw unlimited amounts of
water from beneath his property because the water is viewed as part
of the landowner's property.
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