Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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November 30, 2012

Concerns rise as lake levels drop

City faces possible state-issued water restrictions

By CHRIS AGEE

Although Lake Palo Pinto, the primary Mineral Wells water source, is not dangerously low, city officials say water conservation plans issued by state regulators could affect local users.

“We are at this point not quite five feet below the conservation pool level, which is not particularly alarming for this time of year,” City Manager Lance Howerton said this week.

He explained city leaders received a notice from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality last week indicating a statewide drought might force local restrictions in the future, though.

The TCEQ notification stated “that they were suspending certain junior water rights in the Brazos River Basin, below Possum Kingdom Lake,” he said.

Currently, users including the Mineral Wells Municipal Water Board No. 1 are not included in the conservation plan, but Howerton said that could change.

“At the present time, municipal use has been excluded from the suspension of those water rights but that could be the first action taken by TCEQ to address the statewide drought we are experiencing.

The situation is very similar to what happened around the same time last year, Howerton explained.

“We instituted some water use restrictions during last fall as a result of TCEQ directive, as well,” he said.

He noted any restrictions instituted within the city will likely not be based on local water levels but “on statewide drought conditions.”

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