City of Lubbock disputes water shortage claims - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

City of Lubbock disputes water shortage claims

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Provided by City of Lubbock

On August 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM EDT, the 24/7 Wall Street company published an article titled, "9 Cities Running Out of Water." In the article, the City of Lubbock is listed as the #1 City that is running out of water. The article is misleading and contains some false statements regarding the City of Lubbock. The City is not running out of water. The City has proactively spent the past decade diversifying its water supply and securing both surface and groundwater rights in order to ensure that our thriving city has water for many decades to come.

While we do not dispute the fact that the Lubbock area has been in the "state of exceptional drought since 2011," we reject the article's conclusion that Lubbock is running out water.

False statements found in the article include:

"In April, to encourage water conservation, the city of Lubbock changed its water rate structure to penalize heavier users."

Fact: The City has not changed its water rate structure since 2006. Nor did the City raise or change its water rates in April. Most major cities in the Western United States are on a block rate system that encourages the conservation of water. The City has been encouraging conservation for over a decade. The drought has not changed or altered our plans to encourage water conservation.

"Lubbock, Texas is the #1 city running out of water."

Fact: Lubbock adopted its current Strategic Water Supply Plan in February 2013. The plan clearly lays out our approach to supplying water for the City for the next 100 years. Lubbock owns large amounts of both groundwater and surface water. The major groundwater source is in Roberts County and is not being used for irrigation by farmers. If the Ogallala groundwater is not being pumped, the drought has minimal impact on it. Groundwater does not evaporate! We also possess a well field in Bailey County. We own or control thousands of acres of surface and groundwater rights. In addition, the City owns Lake Alan Henry which is approximately 70% full.

Misleading statements found in the article include:

The article implies that because White River is running out of water the City of Lubbock must be running out of water.

Fact: The City of Lubbock does not obtain its water from White River. No correlation exists between White River's lake levels and the City of Lubbock's water supply.

The article indicates that "one significant rain event… won't even touch the [ground] water table" which implies that Lubbock will run out of groundwater without rainfall.

Fact: Our groundwater supplies are not immediately impacted by annual rainfall events. The Ogallala Aquifer has very slow recharge rates. During a drought, the groundwater does not evaporate! It remains in the ground for decades until it is pumped. Our groundwater is not dependent on weather conditions like surface water is.

The article mentions that some cities have only one water supply and that most supplies come from reservoirs that are dangerously low.

Fact: Lubbock possesses three current water supplies. Approximately 80% of Lubbock's water supply comes from groundwater, not surface water. Lake Alan Henry is not at dangerously low levels.

Conclusion

Again, while we do not dispute the fact that the Lubbock area has been in the "state of exceptional drought since 2011," we reject the article's conclusion that Lubbock is running out water. As stated earlier, the City has proactively spent the past decade diversifying its water supply and securing both surface and water rights in order to ensure that our thriving city has water for many decades to come.

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