Mineral Wells City Manager Lance Howerton expressed the city's concern for the availability of water, since it also provides the water supply for rural corporations including Graford, Santo, Palo Pinto, Millsap, Sturdivant Progress, North Rural and Parker County.
Stage III of the Drought Contingency Plan, which is defined as “severe water shortage conditions” and prohibits non-essential water use, became effective April 1 in Mineral Wells meaning it also affected those outlying water customers.
The city is currently using reverse osmosis treatment for a two-to-one mix of lake water from Palo Pinto Lake and water from the Brazos River.
As conditions at Palo Pinto Lake grow increasingly worse, worries about water sources increase for everyone.
Howerton said Palo Pinto Lake is at about 16 percent capacity. Reports show that Possum Kingdom Lake, down over 15.6 feet, is about 60 percent full.
“The city of Mineral Wells requires about 3 million gallons a day,” reported Howerton. “At the current rate of usage, we have about enough water to last until late spring or early summer of next year. But, if the drought conditions prevail and there is no more rainfall, then we have to think of other alternatives.
Bringing Lake Mineral Wells back on line would give us another six months of water, but it is yet to be determined for sure when and if that will become necessary.
“In 60 days, we will most likely have to make a decision on going to Stage 4 of the Drought Contingency Plan,” Howerton concluded.
When asked about the possible use of effluent, which is “wastewater — treated or untreated — that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer or industrial out fall, and treated for reuse,” Howerton replied that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality sets specific standards for conditional usage of effluent and it would only supply about a third of what is needed and reprocessing of it is expensive.