Water Myths

It’s easy for myths to become widespread enough to seem like facts. For West Texas water, most of the myths are FALSE. Read below to debunk some of the false and often outrageous myths.

  • Myth: The Edwards-Trinity Aquifer is going to dry-up if Fort Stockton Holdings is allowed to transfer the requested amount of water to municipalities and industries.
    • Fact: On the contrary, There are several reasons why this is false. The simplest explanation is that FSH is asking to use the same amount of water that they are currently permitted to use, which is even less water than was pumped from FSH’s properties in the past.  All they are requesting is a change in use.  That is, instead of watering alfalfa, they would like to transfer their water to surrounding communities who have a projected shortage of water. The water will either be pumped for farming, or for the beneficial use of thousands of Texans.  The amount of water, however, will not change.  So, if the amount of water does not change, the impact will not change.
  • Myth: The Fort Stockton Holdings’ permit will affect the Rio Grande.
    • Fact: Not true. FSH will not extract any water directly from the Pecos River, and pumping groundwater from the aquifer in the Leon-Belding area (which is almost 30 miles from the Pecos River) has a miniscule, undetectable effect on the Pecos River.  And certainly, if the effects of pumping cannot be detected in the Pecos River, there is no way that effects of pumping could be detected in the Rio Grande.  It is simply hydrologically impossible.
  • Myth: The Fort Stockton Holdings’ water that is currently being used for irrigation returns to the aquifer.
    • Fact: This is false. The soil on the Fort Stockton Holdings’ property has a significant amount of clay, which makes irrigation return flow (water returning to the aquifer) so small it is undetectable. The water can not infiltrate the clay before it is taken in by the alfalfa or evaporates.
  • Myth: Fort Stockton Holdings wants to increase the amount of water it pumps.
    • Fact: Not true. The amount of water requested in the permit is the same amount of water that is currently permitted for agricultural use. The family is not asking for a single drop more than they are already allowed to use. (They are planning to use the water to supply other municipalities that need it desperately.)
  • Myth: Pecos County will run out of water.
    • Fact: Just the opposite. According to the Texas Water Development Board, there is an abundance of groundwater resources in Pecos County that exceed the consumption needs of the current and projected population. The Texas Water Development Board has projected that the city of Fort Stockton’s water needs are less than 3,500 acre feet per year over the next 50 years, and the city has permits for approximately 6,000 acre feet of water per year. While most of us aren’t familiar with “acre feet,” you can see that Pecos County has almost twice what it’s projected to need.
  • Myth: Keeping the water local will be better for Fort Stockton and Pecos County.
    • Fact: No. By permitting the William’s family to transfer water that is legally theirs to surrounding municipalities and industries, Fort Stockton and Pecos County will benefit. A study projected that Pecos County could gain an estimated $51 million in economic output, add 460 jobs, $18 million in earnings and $47 million in Gross Regional Product.
  • Myth: There is no need to share our water.
    • Fact: Neighboring communities face projected shortages of water and are already paying substantial energy costs to pump water uphill from limited surface water sources. The Fort Stockton Holdings water flows downhill, thus saving significant energy.
  • Myth: The Williams family is stealing our water.
    • Fact: This is untrue, unfair and dangerous. Water is a natural resource, like oil or coal. It belongs to the individual or family who owns the land. The Texas Supreme Court affirmed this in the mid- 1950s. The vast majority of Texans feel strongly about property rights and don’t believe a governmental body has the right to arbitrarily take private property.
  • Myth: Fort Stockton Holdings’ permit application is counter to sound water planning.
    • Fact: Not at all. The Legislature set up a state-wide water planning and conservation program designed to facilitate sharing water resources where they’re needed while maintaining property. The proposed permit does exactly what the state intended.