HOUSTON (AP) — A Central Texas town that the mayor says is two weeks away from running out of water has been given emergency approval to run three miles of pipeline through a state park to draw water from a rock quarry, town and state officials said Tuesday.
Groesbeck Mayor Jackie Livingston said the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told town officials at a City Council meeting late Monday they could run the line through Fort Parker State Park. But she said construction on the line would not begin until the written contract is received, which should take less than a week.
Towns throughout Texas have been struggling with dwindling reservoirs and water resources as a historic drought parches the state.
Livingston said the town of 6,500 people about 100 miles south of Dallas normally draws water from a nearby river. The river, however, has run dry and the town has purchased a four-month supply of water from a rock quarry seven miles away. The pipeline would bring the quarry water to the town’s water treatment facility.
Contractors have promised they could have the pipeline built within four days, Livingston said. Groesbeck also supplies water to a 1,000-bed federal penitentiary.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regional director Rodney Franklin confirmed the agency had given Groesbeck the green light for the project. He said he is not aware of any other water pipelines running through state parks in Texas. The parks department gave approval for the project after ensuring wildlife and native plants would not be harmed.
“This was a special circumstance where we definitely wanted to help our neighbors out,” Franklin said, noting that agency officials changed schedules and rushed through the procedure to get emergency approval for the project. “This drought is affecting a lot of folks.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)