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Wells Running Dry Across Texas Hill Country - Houston Chronicle

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:43 PM
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Wells Running Dry Across Texas Hill Country - Houston Chronicle

These neighbors living in the rugged hills near this fast-growing suburb 20 minutes west of Austin, find answers every day to the question posed in the folk song refrain, "Whatcha gonna do when the well runs dry?" Like dozens of homeowners in western Hays County conservative estimates range from 30 to 50 their wells ran dry during this year's drought. Now they're relying on water delivered by trucks that are in such high demand that many say they can't wait a week or more for their first shipment. "We're all hoping some huge rainstorm's going to come through and solve all our problems," said Steve Shubin, a former Los Angeles S.W.A.T.-team member who married a former tennis pro and moved to Central Texas 10 years ago. "But, it's just not going to work like that."

Few dispute the Trinity Aquifer's water table is dropping, and with rapid residential development, more wells are poking into ever-scarcer resources. Locals refer to their situation as too many straws in the milkshake. From a sleepy, one-stoplight town less than 20 years ago, growth in the greater Dripping Springs area has swelled from fewer than 50,000 residents in 1990 to more than 100,000 last year. For Clark, a retired telephone company employee, the water problem is personal. He blames county politicians who he says favor the interests of developers over those of longtime residents.

Clark and his schoolteacher wife, Kathy, moved to the area from Irving 26 years ago, constructed a log cabin from a kit, filled the walls with vintage advertising signs and drilled their well. It never stopped pumping until last April, and the latest signs sprouting up at Wayland Clark's place aren't so nostalgic.

"Water Well Dry Here," proclaims a warning for passers-by posted on his gate. "Anyone but (County Commissioner Russ) Molenaar," says another. "Anyone but Power$," says a third, turning the "s" in County Judge Bill Powers' name into a dollar sign. "They are so into the developer, it's a joke," agrees Shubin. "This coming election, these guys are in trouble." Powers protests that he does care about residents and their dry wells and denies he's pro-developer, but open this debate with some around town and you'll hear an earful.

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Cassandra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:03 PM
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1. I guess they should change the name to...
Shriveling Springs.
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kurth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:18 PM
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2. In Texas whoever has the biggest pump wins
Houston & T. C. Ry. v. East (1904) - Under this rule the owner of the overlying land can pump and use the water with few restrictions, whatever the impact on adjacent landowners or more distant water users.
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acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 01:54 PM
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3. The "Right of Capture"
Over development is ruining our beautiful Hill Country. Several of my friends are trucking water in now, their wells have never went dry.
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