NewsChannel 11 discovered that Lubbock City Manager Lou Fox and the Abilene city manager met at Lake Alan Henry two weeks ago to talk about water. Abilene is looking to buy water rights, but in those discussions, we've learned Abilene also asked if Lubbock would be interested in selling a lot more.
Lake Alan Henry is certainly becoming quite the gem of West Texas. According to Lubbock city officials, it is the only lake in West Texas that is nearly full. And Abilene has taken notice.
"They asked about the possibility of purchasing the lake. But like I said, the council has not discussed that, we have not priced that (the lake), they (Abilene) have not made any offers," said Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal.
Mayor McDougal speaks candidly about the conversation that took place two weeks ago at Lake Alan Henry between Fox, and the Abilene city manager. "I believe the city of Abilene is on a fact finding mission. What are their options, same thing we're doing in Lubbock," said the Mayor.
NewsChannel 11 called Abilene Mayor Grady Barrs to verify. He told us they are looking to buy water from Lake Alan Henry to secure Abilene's future water supply. "I'd be interested in possibly buying the rights to the water of about 10,000 to 20,000 acre feet," said Mayor Barrs.
But when asked if Abilene would be interested in buying the lake instead, "See, I personally like that better than contracting the water," Mayor Barrs said.
Mayor McDougal says he would not be interested in selling Lake Alan Henry right away if the city does not have another water resource. But McDougal says he would be interested to see how much the city could get from the sale.
The city has $80 million tied up in the lake, and a $40 million outstanding debt.
We contacted several of the council members to see where they stand. Councilman Tom Martin said "I'd be interested in selling the milk, but not the cow." Gary Boren said "Sell the water, not the lake." Frank Morrison said "The city is not in dire need of the water, for the right price anything is for sale." T.J. Patterson said "I will do what's right for the future of Lubbock." We were not able to reach Councilmen Jim Gilbreath or Victor Hernandez for comment.