The future water supply for Lubbock and the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority has quadrupled. Since January, water rights have grown from 42,500 acre feet to 186,000 acre feet, thanks to new contracts out of Roberts and surrounding counties, just north of Amarillo.
NewsChannel 11 was at the water commission meeting where CRMWA briefed city leaders on the good news. They have signed nearly 80 new contracts for water rights in the past month and a half, many of them in Roberts county, which has more groundwater than any other county in the state. CRMWA General Manager, Kent Satterwhite says, "It just secures your future. Lubbock will have water for the long term."
Satterwhite says the acquisition of new water rights would supply Lubbock with water for more than 200 years at current usage rates. That pleases city leaders. Councilman Jim Gilbreath says, "We're honing in on a 100 year new water supply from CRMWA. So that's great news for the citizens of Lubbock."
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Variables create a discrepancy on how long the water will last. Population growth would deplete the supply faster, as would the addition of a new, larger pipeline. Satterwhite says, "With the pipeline now, we can't get the water here. So we have to find other sources." Gilbreath adds, "As we continue to grow, we'll have to build another pipeline and so that'll be part of the equation also."
A new pipeline in the equation comes at a cost of $275 million to Lubbock and even that may not even be enough if Lubbockites don't start conserving. Gilbreath explains, "We've got a bunch more water but its a supply we won't tap into for another 30 or 40 years. That's the number that was mentioned in the meeting. The key thing for Lubbock right now is to conserve water so we're not using so much during peak demand time, during the summertime." Satterwhite says, "I don't know where conservation issue will go, but they're gonna get much more radical, no question about it, in the future."
Even with the good news, the City of Lubbock will continue to explore other options. A pipeline from Lake Alan Henry is still feasible and the city has hired an engineering firm to look into waste water treatment alternatives.
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