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Brown Co. hoping to use groundwater to help with water woes

By Shenna Stout, sstout@ktxs.com
Published On: Mar 14 2013 07:41:13 PM CDT
BROWNWOOD, Texas -

Like much of the Big County, the lack of water is becoming an issue in Brown County.

The Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 is moving right along with plans to possibly utilize groundwater.

For decades, Lake Brownwood has supplied much of Brown County with potable water, but with lake levels low and drought-like conditions, General Manager Dennis Spinks said we have to supplement the lake supply.

"That is a scary thing, to think we could run out of water," said Spinks.

Lake Brownwood has been at record lows since the 2011 drought, which was a rude awakening for the water district.

"Even in the 1950's, the drought with the record previously, the lake levels never dropped below 10 feet below spillway," said Spinks.

To supplement the water supply, the district has approved a lease agreement for a site where a test well will be drilled. The location is on the far east side of Brown County, one-fourth mile south of the former Hot Wells Swimming Pool.

1,600 feet down, the Ellenberger aquifer will be drilled into and the water collected will need to be tested and treated.

It is estimated to cost between $300,000 and $600,000 to drill a test well.

To drill larger wells to meet the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's standards for domestic use, it will cost as much as $1 million more.

If the water from the test well is adequate in quality and quantity, it can be used for irrigation which would offset some of the expense.

"We actually have an irrigation line that's going to be right next to this drill site; you know, we're going to take this step by step. First step is to get a sample of that water," said Spinks.

The district believes groundwater can be the most feasible option to extend our water supply.