More Texas Drought Fallout: Tiny Town Forced to Truck in Water

Spicewood, Texas phones a friend, gets water lifeline trucked in.

Conditions like this have forced one Texas town, Spicewood, to truck in outside water. (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)
Sal holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

In drought-addled Texas, it’s come to this.

The Lone Star state’s “once every 500 or 1,000 years” water emergency has stretched on for so long that one tiny town has resorted to an extreme thirst-quenching solution: trucking in water.

Spicewood, a sleepy community a half hour’s drive from Austin, welcomed 8,000 gallons of neighbor water on Monday, reports MSNBC.

Local officials had earlier determined the village’s wells could not longer meet the water needs of its 1,100 residents.

Since beginning in earnest in the fall of 2010, the drought has settled over Texas like a stubborn, angry, immovable biblical plague, leaving a disparate group of victims desperately searching for even a drop of water.

—The year that ended in September 2011 was the driest in Texas since at least 1895, when statewide weather records begin. Across the state, lakes have turned into pools of mud. Many rivers have stopped flowing.

—According to the Texas Forest Service, the drought has killed as many as 500 million trees, or 10 percent of the state’s total.

—The lack of rainfall has caused a 40 percent reduction in the state’s pecan production. Sorry, pecan-pie lovers.

—The United States produces between 18 and 25 percent of the world’s cotton, 50 percent of which is grown in Texas. In 2011, the yield from irrigated cotton crops fell by a staggering 60 percent.

—Six of the 10 largest wildfires in Texas history took place in 2011, at a cost of $5 billion.

—And lest we forget the farmers who have resorted to abandoning their donkeys because the drought has raised the price of hay.

But back to Spicewood.

“The hauling of water is just a Band-Aid approach,” said a city official to MSNBC. “It’s just a short-term approach.”

Which begs the question—what, then, is the town’s long-term approach?

They don’t know and they don't plan on knowing any time soon.

“If we need to haul every day, we will. This will probably go on for several more months,” said another town official.

If prudence really is the lens through which Spicewood is approaching their water deficiency, why not at least entertain the so-called radical solution embraced by Big Spring, another parched Texas town.

Last year, Big Spring broke ground on a $13 million treatment plant that will redirect two million gallons per day of cleaned sewage back into the regular water system.

That’s right, drinking processed urine.

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