As the populations of land locked metropolitan areas like Austin and San Antonio continue to grow, urban water planners are increasingly looking to rural Texas to slake their thirst.
Water has been described as “the new oil” due to its rising price and concerns of future shortages. Though concerns are greater in western cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix and Denver than they are in central Texas, rapid growth in the IH 35 corridor will ultimately lead to similar shortages here.
A proposal surfaced last month in which the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority would mine millions of gallons of water from aquifers in Bastrop and Lee counties and move that water to San Antonio using a series of yet to be built pipelines. In the Panhandle, Mesa Water Company has proposed mining the Ogallala aquifer and selling the water to San Antonio, Dallas or just about any big city interested in buying it.
Rural aquifers are seen an easy targets for urban water utilities and water entrepreneurs who have the financial and political muscle to impose their will on rural Texas. Because of the high cost to all Texans, care should be taken to stress conservation measures, the use of supplemental rain water for irrigation, as well as other measures designed to mitigate the effect of such water grabs.
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