Residents in drought stricken west Texas are casting a skeptical eye toward the proposal of Rio Nuevo, Ltd., to enter into a lease with the General Land Office allowing the partnership to lease water rights in 646,508 acres of state land in six West Texas counties. The assumption is that they would pump the water out of the ground, pipe it and sell it to cities. The original proposal included a plan to dump the water into the Rio Grande River for transporting downstream, but that plan has been abandoned. Link to Austin American Statesman article.
The six counties are Brewster, El Paso, Presidio, Jeff Davis, Culberson and Hudspeth.
The plan has come under criticism from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, according to the San Antonio Express News. And Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has named 11 senators to a Select Committee on Water Policy to examine the issue. And, a representative of the GLO is expected to be present at a meeting in Van Horn on November 20 of the Far West Texas Water Planning Group chaired by Alpine resident Tom Beard who is very much opposed to the plan. (Alpine Avalanche.)
It should be an interesting meeting. Water is a very precious commodity out here in the desert, so one has to expect that common sense will prevail. The west Texas underground water reservoirs and aquifers have to have been depleted during the drought, and any plan to export water from them is just plain lunacy.
For more about Rio Nuevo, Ltd., here's its composition according to the Austin American Statesman:
- Mike Ford, Midland, president, Falcon Bay Operating LLC
- Gary Martin, Midland, energy, investments
- Roger Abel, Austin, former president and CEO, Occidental Petroleum Corp.'s oil and gas subsidiary
- Robert Canon, Midland, Falcon Bay Operating LLC
- Steve Smith, Austin, investor; owns 25,000 acres, including a resort, in Lajitas
- Anthony Sam, Midland, vice president, Falcon Bay Operating LLC
- Steve Cole, Midland, Falcon Bay Operating LLC
- Kyle McDonnold, Midland, lawyer