Wolfforth drills, searching for new water source from aquifer below the Ogallala

Wolfforth drills, searching for new water source from aquifer below the Ogallala
City of Wolfforth to begin drilling for new water well. (Source: KCBD)
City of Wolfforth to begin drilling for new water well. (Source: KCBD)
City of Wolfforth to begin drilling for new water well. (Source: KCBD)
Edwards-Trinity High Plains Aquifer (Source: HPWD)
Edwards-Trinity High Plains Aquifer (Source: HPWD)
Edwards-Trinity High Plains Aquifer (Source: HPWD)
Edwards-Trinity High Plains Aquifer (Source: HPWD)

WOLFFORTH, TX (KCBD) - The City of Wolfforth is set to begin drilling in search of a new water source. If the city succeeds in finding treatable water, it could be the only municipality to tap into the Edwards-Trinity High Plains Aquifer.

In January of 2017, Wolfforth and the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District agreed to partner in the effort to drill through the Ogallala and Edwards-Trinity at about 300 feet below the surface to the Dockum Aquifer at about 1,700 feet, not only to search for water for municipal use, but to explore the aquifers geologically.

"At the Edwards-Trinity level there is an opportunity for additional water there and there is a lot of advantages to it," City Manager Darrell Newsome said. "It's expensive to drill to but we aren't competing with ourselves or any farmers or anybody else for that water. We'd be one of the only wells in this area that are that deep."

The HPWD Board agreed to pay $90,000 to help the project. According to Newsome, the City budgeted around $500,000 for the exploration. Officials hope to find enough treatable water for a growing city population, currently at around 4,600 people.

"What we are hoping for is 300 to 500 gallons a minute," Newsome said. "Based on the spacing we have, we could do up to 560 gallons a minute if it's possible to go from there and do that. Worst case: what we will do is just make an additional Ogallala well. It won't be a total bust if we don't find any water in that area."

Newsome tells KCBD NewsChannel 11 that the city is in a unique position to treat any water source found with its new electro-dialysis reversal treatment plant, completed in May 2017.

"With our treatment system, we will have the opportunity to blend it in with the water here," Newsome said. "As long as it's within 20 percent of the water quality that we have now, we can blend it in and not change anything in our new treatment plant."

This will be the third time HPWD has partnered with a municipality to explore the Dockum Aquifer after Abernathy and Lubbock. While the HPWD is interested in the exploration of the Dockum, with help of the U.S. Geological Survey, its water is known to not be suitable for municipal use.

"The city, while wanting to know that type of information in the Dockum, is probably at this point in time looking more for additional supply," HPWD General Manager Jason Coleman said. "The discussion of the supply issue expressed interest in a more non-competing supply where the well could be completed in an area that's not highly developed. Because Edwards-Trinity is much closer to the surface than the Dockum, literally over 1,200 to 1,500 feet difference, it made sense to explore that area and determine if there is good quality water and of sufficient quality."

Officials said this research and exploration is important as other water sources dry up.

"The existing and most available water in the Ogallala is declining, largely," Coleman said. "There is need to look at other sources, other opportunities. That is largely the impetus in investigating, in this case a minor aquifer."

Officials Monday said drilling is expected to begin in a few days by Layne Christensen Company and will last around two weeks. The site is in the northern part of Wolfforth off Preston Hollow Lane.

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