Midland Utilities Director "We Could Not Have Enough Water" 3/28/12
CBS 7 News
March 29, 2012
MIDLAND, TX - "We're really in a position this year where we could not have enough water, people could get up in the morning and there's not any water in the system," a serious warning from the City of Midland Utilities Director Stuart Purvis.
As the drought continues the water supply from the Colorado River Municipal Water District is being cut drastically.
The City of Midland will be running on half the water they had during summer 2010.
The CRMWD is only supplying Midland with 13.9 million gallons of water per day, compared to 22 million gallons per day last year.
And now the water district says they expect the only reservoir left, O.H. Ivie, to be empty by next February if there is no significant rain.
Midland city leaders say the worst-case scenario can be avoided if the community works together.
They met Thursday for a press conference to explain the new watering changes that have caused community outrage.
"Fifty percent reduction is significant to the City of Midland," said Purvis as the press conference began.
This summer Midland will be running on half the amount of water they had two years ago. After combining their two water sources, CRMWD and the Paul Davis well field, they only have 18.5 million gallons a day to hand out this summer.
In order to curb water use, they’re increasing water rates, putting a new emphasis on the household water meter.
"The city is not trying to make any money, we're trying to encourage people to stay below the 10,000 gallon use," said Purvis.
If you go over 10,000 gallons you're rate will increase almost five times from $3.91 to $19.55 per thousand gallons.
If you go over 25,000 gallons your price tag will go from $4.50 to $22.50 per thousand gallons.
These new water rates have put a giant spotlight on the meters and the employees who read them.
The city says they have six employees walking dozens of mile, reading hundreds of meters a day to make sure they cover all 35,000 meters every month.
Tony Goyang, the Customer Service Division Manager, tells CBS 7 that every meter is read every month.
"Everyday when they come back they have to download all the readings and the billing technician has to go over and look at it, and make sure that everything is right."
And it’s a dirty job, meter readers dig through the dirt, mud and leaves to read each meter.
"Do they make mistakes? Yes they do sometimes and if they do we have guys, the billing technician and billing supervisor's job is to re-check what their reading is and make sure the correction is made before it's been billed," said Goyang.
Mayor Wes Perry says it's time we take a different approach to using water and actually watch the water we use.
"We all need to become friends with our meter, we want to go out there, know where it is, know how it's read."
Even with the threat of no water, he remains optimistic Midland will pull through.
"If everybody can focus on this today, this summer we'll get through this, keep as much of our trees alive as possible and we're going to make it."
The city says they understand larger households will most likely need more water to use, and they invite anyone who truly believes they need more than 10,000 gallons a month to apply for a variance, which cannot be guaranteed.
They consider large families to be more than five people.