LANCASTER (CBSDFW.COM) – Livestock lovers and even some rural homeowners near Lancaster are fretting over a water source that’s going away.

An inexpensive water dispensing pay station in Lancaster is set to shut down on October 1, due to budget problems, the city reports.

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The scheduled closure leaves scores of people desperate to find a dependable new water source.

“I have two horses that I have to take care of; I just fill those barrels up and we’re good,” Jamilya Oliver explained as she fed quarters into Lancaster’s water dispenser, purchasing life-giving drinks for her animals.

Currently Oliver’s horses are on leased property just outside Lancaster.

But residents will not have the water-pay opportunity for long. With the city shutting down the pay station, Oliver is not sure of her next step. “With this being gone I don’t know what we’re going to do now. I really don’t.”

In nearby Hutchins, Becky Tingle has the same challenge but on a larger scale. When the Lancaster station went down for mechanical reasons over the weekend she had to get water from her business for her livestock.

Usually Tingle spends 75-cents to top off a 500-gallon tank — but this last time? “Probably $30-$40 every time I fill up that tank,” she said.

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The large stock pond on Tingle’s property, that formerly sustained 18 horses, cows, and mules, has dried up. “Really it’s sad,” she said.

Tingle already knows what the worst could be like; her pond used to be stocked with catfish and bass. Now she frets her animals face a similar fate. “I really don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said frustrated, “I’m going to have to make some decisions, but I’m not getting rid of my animals.”

However, salvation is on the horizon, literally, 10 miles away in Ferris, where the water pay station remains fully functional.

“We can pretty much supply as much as people need,” City Manager Eric Strong said with confidence.

Despite weekend rumors of its pending demise, Ferris’ water pay station is open. “We have no plans on shutting it down and it works well and we know it gets a lot of use and so we’re happy to continue to provide that service to people,” said Strong.
Oliver was overjoyed at the news. “Oh, that’s excellent! I guess I’m going to have to drive a little bit further; I’ll do anything for my horses. Anything for my babies.”

In a press release issued Tuesday, the City of Lancaster said income on its water pay station averaged less than $1,700 a year and that doesn’t cover the cost of running it.

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Ferris spends about $200 annually on its station, which has a simpler mechanical design.