West Texas Residents Forge Their Own Solution To Undrinkable Water

"The water in these four unincorporated communities near Lubbock has been undrinkable for years, residents say. They hope to win $3 million in state grants to improve their systems."

"During a community meeting in July, residents of four unincorporated communities south of the Texas Panhandle held mason jars filled with brown, cloudy water — visual evidence of the water quality issues that have for decades plagued the more than 300 residents of these rural West Texas communities.

Situated in the outskirts of Lubbock and Shallowater, residents of the four developments have received regular notices of water quality violations from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, the state’s environmental agency. Elevated levels of fluoride, arsenic, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals have made the water undrinkable for nearly two decades, according to TCEQ records, leaving residents to rely on bottled water.

About 65 residents attended the July meeting to create the South Plains Water Supply Corporation, a collaborative public entity that makes the four housing developments eligible to compete for regional, state and federal funding. The newly formed organization, run by a board of directors who represent all four subdivisions, is working quickly to meet an Aug. 31 deadline to apply for approximately $3.3 million from the Texas Water Development Board.

If they receive it, the board plans to use the money to repair broken water treatment and filtration systems."

Pooja Salhotra reports for the Texas Tribune August 30, 2023.

Source: Texas Tribune, 09/06/2023