Lubbock's Water Supply Secure for Future - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/5/03

Lubbock's Water Supply Secure for Future

Is Lubbock running out of water? They say it's not a crisis now, but city leaders are now preparing to avoid one. The City of Lubbock's main water supply, Lake Meredith is running dry. As a matter of fact it could be unusable in two years.

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Currently Lake Meredith supplies 80% of Lubbock's water and as of now it sits at a record low. Since the year 2000, levels at Lake Meredith have dropped significantly, from 400,000 acre feet of water, down to about 180,000, which means Lake Meredith is only 18% full.

This is a result of long term drought conditions in the panhandle. Officials say at this point, it would take 30 inches of rain in one day to bring the level up to 50% capacity.

But City officials say they are not waiting for rain. Instead Council members announced back-up-plans on Wednesday that will secure our City's water supply for the future.

The City Council has been studying the possibility of using Lake Alan Henry's water for the last few years. Then last spring, they hired "Water Texas" to study water capacity in Lubbock, to determine a long term plan for water 50 to 100 years down the road.

On Wednesday the City, announced a plan to keep water running in Lubbock, if Lake Meredith dries up. Supplying water for our City's future is of the utmost importance to the council. That's why they're addressing the drought at Lake Meredith, where we get 80% of our water. "With no significant rainfall Lake Meredith with be unusable in two to four years," said Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal.

The other 20% of Lubbock's water comes from Bailey County water well fields. In the futures, We'll increase our usage at Bailey, to make up for the drought at Lake Meredith. "In the Bailey County well field we will be assessing the condition to upgrade that equipment if needed, including pumps and pipeline. And we will be changing the mission from supplementary source to primary water source for the foreseeable future which is ten to 20 years," said McDougal.

"What Lubbock needs to do now is to evaluate Bailey County's system to make sure it's in an optimal condition to be able to serve as a main water supply for Lubbock," said Lynn Sherman, President of Water Texas.

Another part of the plan includes using more water from Roberts County. Currently we get water from there, but it's blended with Lake Meredith's water. "At the Roberts County well field we'll be working to do the same things with their water to allow Lake Meredith to recover," says McDougal.

But that's not all, the City and Water Texas will continue to monitor usage and levels, enforce water restrictions if necessary, and work to find additional water supplies, including a possible pipe line to Lake Alan Henry.

So here's what you can do to help conserve water. Citizens can voluntarily reduce water usage around the house and in the yard. In turn, the City plans to cut back in parks and irrigation, with LISD's help, by using well water to save available water.

They'll also review ordinances on landscaping techniques and finally the City plans to evaluate the infrastructure on older pipelines to repair, replace and avoid leaks. How much the repairs will cost isn't clear yet.

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