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It’s hard to go outside and not notice the stifling heat.
South Texas is hot during the summer, but there is no doubt this year has a different element to it that I’ve not experienced before, it’s brutal out there. The heat started early this year and looks like we have another 60 days, at least, before we can get some relief from this record breaking heat, unless we can get some storms off the coast.
So what does the heat have to do with our water, specifically the water supply and production for the city of Pearsall and the surrounding ETJ, (extra-territorial jurisdiction)? A lot. Pearsall has four water wells located strategically around the city. We have a combined storage capacity in our water tanks of 3,150,000 gallons of water at any one time. At peak performance, our wells can produce 2,800,000 gallons of water per day. Today, demand for water from our community is equal to peak production, we are consuming 2,800,000 gallons of water each day.
We get our water from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. This aquifer runs parallel to the Texas coast and is found under 60 Texas counties, Frio being one of them. The Carrizo recharges with rain, that being said, there is currently not a lot of recharge going on. Our water supply from this aquifer is not in danger of drying up any time soon.
There are many industrial, municipal, and agricultural demands on this aquifer, there is a seasonal drop in the static level of the aquifer that happens this time of year, as citizens, industry and farmers use more water. In order to meet peak demands, our city equipment is working harder; we have pumps, motors, drive shafts, electrical panels, more electrical components that communicate back and forth to each other, telling the pumps when to run and when to shut off. We have water lines that criss-cross the city, many are new but some are older. If a city water well goes down (for any number of reasons) or we have a major water leak, we have the ability to push water from one part of town to another. If consumption were to exceed production, that kicks off a number of problems and running at peak production day after day, for what could be four months (May through August), puts a tremendous strain on the equipment. That is why the city started stage two water restrictions. These restrictions can be seen on the city web site. These are light restrictions and your compliance will provide much needed relief to our equipment. Conservation is the key.
The city is working hard to meet demand, plan ahead and have contingencies in place, but wit h so much pressure on the systems, you can’t prepare for every emergency. You can read what happened to the city of Kirby over last weekend with their water system, by looking on the internet, a perfect storm can happen, it did for them. That being said, citizens, do what you can today, conserve, Stage two restrictions are not about doing without, it’s about conservation. Additionally, I never miss an opportunity to stress the importance of preparedness. Always ensure you have a few cases of water and fill up empty milk containers just to have some extra water is not a bad idea.
We’ll get through this and it’s nice thinking about those first cool fronts of September, but until then, pray for rain.
God Bless the City of Pearsall, the County of Frio, the State of Texas, the United States of America and You.