11 Texas Community Water Systems Set to Run Dry in 45 Days, Dozens More by Fall
May 23, 2014 • 9:32AM

Texas state headlines this week are featuring the latest weekly warning from the Texas state water authority, on public water utilities set to run dry. As yesterday's Houston Chronicle summarizes, "For the week of May 14, there are 11 public water systems that could run out of water in 45 days, with a total of 32 that could run out in 90."

This is from the May 14 weekly report by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the agency which monitors water supplies. The list of 32 communities in dire circumstances, is posted among the total of 1,165 community water systems in the state (out of the total of 4,638, big and small), which are under restrictions on water usage. There are 778 under mandatory water use restrictions (315 surface water dependent; and and 490 groundwater), plus another 387 community systems under voluntary restrictions (138 surface, and 286 groundwater).

See the May 14 map "Public Water Supply Systems Affected"/Drought 2014, on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality site.

State officials say they are prepared to truck in water to the stricken communities. The 11 now at risk of running completely dry are in nine counties (Archer, Burnet, Haskell, Hidalgo, Hood, Irion, McLennan, Tom Green, Willacy), and range in local population from 9,730 (Raymondville) down to 39 persons using the Twin Buttes Water System. Many communities in trouble are mobile home parks, with fewer than 200 residents, with no contingency resources. They are the new "Okies," but with no place to go.

A Few "Projects"

A few, limited local water supply projects are coming online, or starting. They are cited below. Taken altogether, they do not constitute a "program" or successful response, but rather, they show what a few places, with some means, are doing. This highlights the scope and gravity of the Western states crisis, and the necessity of turning to the high conceptionalization and mobilization Lyndon LaRouche is leading, and the Rogers-Steger campaigns are spearheading in Texas and California. There must be an all-out revolutionary shift to nuclear and fusion power.

Recall Lyndon LaRouche's comments on the crisis, at a May 13 staff meeting:

"Now, maybe we could make a NAWAPA program, on a new basis, but you won't make it on this basis. Because first of all, you have to introduce sources of a water supply, that can sustain the development of the project! Otherwise, the thing is hopeless; there are areas of California, we may be able to pull some stunts off, other areas we can pull some stunts. But these are limited things we're going to have to do, but we have no guarantee, that they will be successful in terms of a NAWAPA program. And we're now dealing with, not the usual situation before this time; we're now dealing with a total collapse, of all the capabilities we had for NAWAPA, are now disappearing, and they will continue to be disappearing for a period of time; unless we can get a change in the international water system, especially above the Pacific Ocean."

CALIFORNIA—SEAWATER DESALINATION PLANT TO SUPPLY 7% OF SAN DIEGO WATER NEEDS, when it opens in a year or two. High-tech, but not nuclear powered. Longstanding southern California water shortage spurred this facility. It will be the largest in the Americas.

NEVADA—NEW UNDERGROUND TUNNEL TO SIPHON MORE WATER FROM COLORADO RIVER FOR LAS VEGAS, is proceeding. The intake pipes for Las Vegas from Lake Mead, will soon all be above the lake level. So Las Vegas initiated this as an each-against-all, f*** you response to the fact that the Colorado River flow and reservoirs storage have been way below needs for the seven-user states, and Mexico, for decades. In California, Gov. Gerry Brown similarly proposes to tunnel Sacramento River water under the Delta southward.

TEXAS—WICHITA FALLS READY RIGHT NOW TO CYCLE PURIFIED SEWAGE WATER DIRECTLY INTO THE TAP, to help serve the 130,000 population. First in this nation, and hemisphere. There are only a few places doing this worldwide. The new Wichita Falls system is ready to go live any day now. The present PR phase is trying to soften public reaction to drinking potty water. The installations to do this were initiated a few years ago, foreseeing today's drought emergency, and given the Barnett Shale fracking in this region. Many other localities treat sewage thoroughly, but send it into rivers, reservoirs or other storage systems or flow, before treating it for drinking water.

TEXAS—RUSH PROJECT WAS DONE IN WEST TEXAS IN THE PARCHED COLORADO RIVER WATERSHED (the central Texas river, not the seven-state river of the same name), where surface water supplies are expected to run out in two years. The Colorado River Municipal Water District built ($130 million) a system involving 21 wells, 22 miles of field collection pipes, 42 miles of transmission pipeline, and 4 pump stations. American Society of Civil Engineers has a feature write-up of the innovative component delivery elements used (January 2014).

TEXAS—SAN ANTONIO Water System will start construction shortly on its first desalination plant, intended to open in 2016, which will de-salt low-grade water from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, for residential and commercial use. At its fully built-out stage, by 2026, the facility is set to be the largest inland desalination plant in the United States, that is, exceeding El Paso.