Water Bill: Threat To 'Survival Of Our Community'?

Water Bill: Threat To 'Survival Of Our Community'?

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature has Vernon officials concerned about the future of their water.

The bill, which passed in the Senate (Senate Bill 281) and is currently in a House Committee (House Bill 1332), would allow Red River Authority to purchase ground water.

Bearden said Wilbarger County is particularly vulnerable, should the bill pass, because it is positioned over the Seymour Aquifer, meaning it has more ground water available than some surrounding areas. However, Bearden said Wilbarger is also one of the only counties without a ground water district, so officials can not regulate how much water is pumped out.

"As key stakeholders in the region with a major aquifer, we are just wanting to participate in a solution to the region's water problems/water issues. We're just not convinced at this time that this is it," said Bearden.  

Bearden said they already sell ground water to Red River Authority, and are willing to continue. However, the concern is that Red River could empty the aquifer if they have the means.

"(We are) concerned about the potential to be in competition with an agency with the state that might have deeper pockets than us," said Bearden.