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Groundwater Issues

Examples From Across Texas - West Texas Water Ranches

In arid west Texas, the city of El Paso is facing future water demands with a drought susceptible supply of surface water from the Rio Grande and diminishing local groundwater reserves. For additional future water supplies, the El Paso Water Utilities in recent years purchased two water ranches in rural west Texas - the Antelope Valley Ranch (approximately 25,000 acres) near Valentine, Texas, and the Wild Horse Ranch (approximately 22,000 acres) near Van Horn, Texas. The Utility is also considering the importation of water from the Dell Valley area, although it currently does not own any property there. All three areas are located within groundwater conservation districts and the Utility would have to secure permits from the water conservation districts to withdraw the groundwater. The Utility anticipates pumping a minimum of 15,000 acre-feet from any import source it eventually selects. Higher pumping volumes may be possible based on findings from future aquifer modeling studies.

The earliest that El Paso might begin pumping from these ranches would by 2010.

Public Comments & Concerns
Because ranching and tourism industries depend on the region's water to sustain them, local communities are worried about the effects of El Paso's proposed groundwater withdrawals on the aquifer and the local economy.

For More Information
Contact the El Paso Water Utility.

Updated December 2001

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