Water Quest Report: Odessa Continues To Search For Water
CBS 7 News
October 4, 2013
ODESSA, TX - The City of Fort Stockton has voted to officially put its partnership with Odessa on hold. The two cities were working on a groundwater project, in hopes of securing long-term water for Odessa but they've hit a wall. The once promising partnership has been stopped in its tracks but Odessa has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the project that may never come to fruition. Weíre asking why did the city make the investment and what now?
"I wasn't surprised," said Richard Morton, Odessa City Manager.
Odessa City Manager Richard Morton says he expected the Fort Stockton City Council to put a hold on the project. Despite Fort Stockton saying it's up to Odessa to make the next move, Morton says the ball is in Fort Stocktonís court.
"We need more than just good intentions, we need a formal written agreement before we spend anymore money," said Morton.
With no agreement in sight, Odessa isn't wasting time. They are exploring a groundwater project in Ward County and The Colorado River Municipal Water District is also looking for long-term water sources.
"The fear amongst people is; are we gonna just run around throwing money around and wasting money, it's a valid concern, is that what's going on?" asked Robert Guaderrama, CBS 7 Reporter.
"Absolutely not. Fort Stockton is fairly unique. The request for proposals put all the burden on the private companies and if they can prove up a supply of water and in a contract, the City would sign with them. So, they take all the financial risk up front and we just buy the product much like you would do in any deal," said Morton.
"If we knew there was this risk, why did we take it and not go with a private company that would prove this up and bring a contract to the City rather then invest this money in a risk?" asked Robert Guaderrama, CBS 7 Reporter.
"Well, that's a good question, the quality of the water in Fort Stockton was tantalizing. In Ward County, the water is very brackish, the more brackish it is, the more costly it is to treat. So although Ward County is 45 miles away versus Fort Stockton 90 miles away, if Fort Stockton is that much better quality, itís a lot less expensive to treat," said Morton.
Morton says Odessa is looking to ensure water for the next hundred years and saving money in the long run is a goal that the Fort Stockton project promises. Morton says there is still hope for the project. At this time both cities continue to dig-in their heels.