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Texas agency allows town to run pipeline through state park to avoid completely running out of water

Thursday, December 08, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Texas, drought, pipeline

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(NaturalNews) A historic drought that has stricken much of Central Texas over the past several months has caused some rivers and water reservoirs in the Lone Star State to run dangerously low. But one Central Texas town, Groesbeck, located about two hours south of Dallas, looks like it will avoid completely running out of water thanks to an emergency decision by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to run a three-mile water pipeline through a popular state park.

The decision is a first as far as Texas state parks go, since no others in the state have water pipelines running through them. But because Groesbeck was a mere two weeks-or-so away from completely running out of water when deliberations began, state officials determined that running a line through Fort Parker State Park to a nearby rock quarry was a necessary measure to maintain a water supply for the town of approximately 6,500 people.

"This was a special circumstance where we definitely wanted to help our neighbors out," said Rodney Franklin, regional director of TPWD, to CBS Houston concerning the decision. "This drought is affecting a lot of folks."

Under normal circumstances, Groesbeck pulls its water from the nearby Navasota River. But the ongoing drought had caused this crucial water resource to mostly dry up, as well as Forth Parker Lake to the north which had been the town's backup water source. So in order to save the town, officials had to come up with completely new solution.

According to CBS Houston, Groesbeck had initially purchased a four-month supply of water from the quarry, and the San Antonio Express-News has since reported that the supply line is now active and functioning, and is currently pumping water from the quarry into the Navasota River at a cost of $35,000 a month. The town is also reportedly working with another company in Austin to build a new ground water source that will be a more permanent water supply, but that project will take longer to complete.

"This should give us about six months, and if we get some rain we can stretch that out," said Keith Tilley, director of public works in Groesbeck. "It's a whole lot better now."

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