Critical to our city’s growth
by Chip Latcham
Feb 28, 2014 | 381 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Following recent damp and rainy days, Bee County officials have lifted the burn ban.

Puddles can be spotted along the highways, and Lake Corpus Christi, our city’s water source, remains at 85.6 percent of capacity.

Yet, Wednesday’s San Antonio Express-News carried the banner headline “S.A. may be facing its driest time ever.”

“Unless rainfall jumps substantially to replenish the Edwards Aquifer,” the story noted, “pumping will have to be cut by 40 percent, as required under Stage IV” of their management plan.

That means some cities there are likely to further restrict lawn watering or ban it altogether.

The article was accompanied by charts of the drought which started in the fall of 2010 and photos of the pitiful Medina Lake, which is now just 3.3 percent full.

Meanwhile at Beeville’s Tuesday night City Council meeting, city officials are moving forward with various water studies.

Interim City Manager Marvin Townsend recommended that the council enlist the services of at least two, separate engineering firms to address water needs.

One firm would look into the quality of water available in aquifers around the county. Another would consider the facilities at the George P. Morrill, I Water Treatment Plant at Swinney Switch and make recommendations on maintaining and updating that operation.

We realize that some of this is necessary before embarking on a plan of action, but many studies have been conducted and we hope this won’t translate into delays or inaction.

Also at the meeting, Townsend said he probably would recommend drilling some wells within the city, following the failure of the treatment plant a few months ago and because of problems caused by the distance from it to town.

That’s a measure we, and many water solution proponents, can heartily support.

Although in favor of maintenance at the treatment plant, “any further major capital improvements there would not be the best use of taxpayer money,” said Jim Crumrine, Beeville water board president. He added that we “need multiple sources.”

He pointed out a great portion of Texas is experiencing a boom, thanks to the shale oil production, and municipal infrastructure is lagging behind.

Drilling shallow wells and possibly building an RO plant would increase capacity, he said. “If we would spend 1/3 of the amount in present dollars that it cost to build our current water system (about $12-13 million), we could double our present capacity.”

Crumrine mentioned that nearby cities such as Three Rivers and Karnes City/Kenedy are now at capacity because of the lack of available water. Beeville/Bee County would experience incredible expansion by taking steps to utilize the abundant resource underneath our feet.

More important than parks, lights at ball fields, airports, housing, schools or attractions, this city must fix our water problem. We trust our city leaders will address this critical situation in the next year or two, before our lake dwindles back down to 15 percent or less.
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