Texas towns in danger of drying up finding ... no long-term solutions. An excerpt:
Imperiled towns around Texas are finding short-term solutions to water supply problems brought on by the drought, some just in time to avert a crisis. But finding a permanent solution is tricky, and in many cases, expensive. That makes the plight of finding water doubly difficult: Even if they could find a fix, they also have to find the cash to pay for it.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says there are 11 towns with enough water to last six month or less. It is working to find quick fixes that cost tens of thousands — sometimes millions — of dollars for a few months of water. They hope that is long enough to find and complete longer-term projects, many of which these cash-strapped communities had delayed for years.
For the West Texas town of Robert Lee, there is a $1.55 million price tag to tap into the nearby town’s water supply with a pipeline. A neighborhood near the Louisiana border will pay $50,000 to drop a pump off a bridge into a deeper part of a lake.
An Austin-area community has paid about $10,000 to build a temporary barge to float a pipe over a water-filled hole that saved the town from hauling water, at least for now, said Pat Mulligan, president and manager of the Windermere Oaks Water Supply Company. But if the lake that supplies the area drops another six feet, they will have to haul in water by truck. Then, water bills will increase about 300 percent and residents in the 230-home subdivision could pay $300 a month for water — up from about $120.