As Dallas-Fort Worth grows, how do we satisfy our water demands?

Posted Monday, Jun. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
More information All Points each Monday features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. With each week’s responses comes the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman,

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

The Supreme Court’s decision that Oklahoma doesn’t have to sell water to the Tarrant Regional Water District means Fort Worth and Dallas may become very unpopular across North Texas. It puts more pressure on the thirsty big cities to increase supplies in ways like building the Marvin Nichols Reservoir near Mount Pleasant, where the project is very unpopular. Are we bad guys when it comes to water?

Sustainability is key

Are we “bad guys” when it comes to water use? An unequivocal yes.

We’re spoiled by a lifestyle that worked when the Texas population was reasonable in numbers.

Even then, way too many looked at tropical, lush areas and lusted after their appearance. Never again will we have sufficient rain for our grandiose ideas, given the number of people, businesses, transportation — you name it.

Sustainability is the operative word. We’re no longer sustainable in terms of average rainfall.

For landscaping we must use only native plants. Get rid of St. Augustine grass, magnolia trees, hybrid roses, etc.

Commercial nurseries must stop aiding and abetting our sins and stock the natives — no St. Augustine!

— Julia Burgen, Arlington

Focus on conserving

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Texas can’t use Oklahoma’s water, I hope Texas utilities will not decide that what we need are more environmentally destructive water projects.

The proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir is one such idea. Not only would this reservoir destroy rare forestland, but what about the family-owned ranches?

It’s time for Texas to focus on conserving the water we already have instead of continuing our wasteful practices. Let’s impose rules that force oil and gas companies to recycle the millions of gallons they use every time they drill a well, or help homeowners install drought-resistant plants and water-efficient appliances.

— Avril Harville, Benbrook

No more abatements

Yes, all of us are bad guys in the use of water, whether from Oklahoma or heaven. There will come a time when we won’t water grass and play in the same water that we drink.

Conservation is less expensive than building more reservoirs.

Here are some thoughts: Use rain barrels; eliminate sprinkler systems; recycle laundry wash water and other water used in the house, i.e., bath and dishwater; fix leaks; plant vegetation that consumes less water; enforce illegal entry into the U.S. from the rest of world and reduce legal entries. We are full.

And this last is very important: Taxing entities must stop giving favored tax abatements to certain businesses under the guise of bringing in more people. We have enough now.

— Jack O. Lewis, Haltom City

Insatiable appetite

I don’t understand. What is it about Fort Worth’s insatiable appetite for growth that entitles it to condemn the land of people hundreds of miles away and take their water?

The Trinity River flows through town, and the limits of its watershed should logically have set the limits for Fort Worth’s population.

There’s no reason why additional thousands of people have to move here, living off the resources of East Texas, other than to satisfy the egos of local politicians.

— Dennis Novak, Fort Worth

A global problem

It’s said that the world once destroyed by water will never again be destroyed by water.

I’m not a science-fiction person, but at times I wonder.

Hundreds or thousands of years from now, could the following be possible? “People from another planet explore planet Earth and find it once contained life and water!”

— George J. Anthony, Fort Worth

Unsustainable model

The current concern with water supply is additional evidence of our unsustainable model for urban development.

One might say we have two water problems in North Texas: too much or not enough.

Water from rainfall is allowed to flow off roofed and paved-over properties into the streets and then down to the creeks. Residents are taxed to channelize creek beds to allow water to flow faster and deeper, causing floods downstream.

Meanwhile, no attempt is made to capture this water and store it for later use.

Water for public utility use seems to be defined as water from elsewhere. Texas cities should be producing at least a third of their own water needs from inside the city limits.

Smarter development, conservation, reuse, and rainwater harvesting are all practices that, combined with a sensible water rate system that rewards less usage, would help cities reach that goal.

— R.D. Milhollin, Haltom City

Desalination needed

We aren’t the bad guys. Our aquifers are drying up because of excessive farm irrigation. The drought continues. City populations grow. It seems that eventually we will have to desalinate sea water and pipe it everywhere.

Desalination uses a lot of energy, and what better source than the sun and wind. Solar and wind power are intermittent and need a large fossil-fuel plant on standby for when the wind stops and the sun doesn’t shine.

Unless someone invents a way to store intermittent energy, all solar and wind will do is quadruple our energy bills, because such energy costs much more than fossil-fuel power. They are too expensive for city electricity but they would be outstanding when used for desalination.

— Curt Lampkin, Azle

We’re big enough

How much is enough? How big does the Chamber of Commerce want Fort Worth to be?

Is the thirst for growth insatiable? Is not 750,000 enough?

When it grows to 1 million, will they want 2 million?

Why do we keep giving tax abatements and other incentives to induce corporations to move here?

Do they want this city to become another London? Another New York? Another Tokyo?

Whatever happened to our love of a friendly western woodland where Nature has her way? Or to the blessed Land of Room Enough where the air is full of sunlight and the flag has a big Lone Star?

Is it not obvious that there is not enough water now? How much more will be needed with another million thirsty straws draining it?

How many more big lakes and miles of eminent-domain pipelines? How many more orange-barrel freeways to be widened?

— Don Woodard, Fort Worth

Poisoned the well

I suggest that the TRWD has proven itself incompetent at best in handling the Oklahoma issue.

The Supreme Court didn’t say that we weren’t entitled to the water, but only that we weren’t allowed to invade Oklahoma to obtain it.

By choosing to go to court rather than negotiate in good faith with our partner in the compact, we wasted millions of taxpayer dollars to no positive effect, and instead poisoned the well of good will that stood to benefit us.

Certainly the TRWD, the body charged with providing adequate long-term water resources to our region, has taken upon itself the mantle of “bad guy” in its actions to date in handling this matter, the Trinity River Vision, and other initiatives.

So it is logical that we will be perceived as the “bad guy” going forward, unless the TRWD changes its approach to doing business, its leadership, or both.

— Mark Greene, Fort Worth

Most precious commodity

The Supreme Court decision against the Tarrant Regional Water District is no surprise. Oklahoma lobbied hard with influential support for the court’s rendering.

Texas has been experiencing a “gold rush” to find and frack for oil and gas.

Our most precious commodity, water, is at the top of all these oil and gas barons’ minds since they use an average of 6 million gallons of water to frack one well.

The end result is contaminated water, not fit to drink.

So, we suffer the consequences of a lack of water and a drought to boot. Money and narcissism are at play here!

— Delores Cantrell, Fort Worth

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?