Fort Stockton Has a Surplus of Aquifer Water and the City Wants to Sell It

The project could be the biggest water deal in North America.

By Rhonda Fanning & Alexandra HartDecember 12, 2016 3:18 pm|

Fort Stockton is partnering with local water system builders to quench the collective thirst of communities and cities across west Texas and as far as Austin. The project would tap aquifers underneath the city to sell to places that need long-term solutions to Texas’ water problem.

The city is partnering with veteran water businessman Alan Murphy to bring the plan to fruition.

Asher Price wrote the story for the Austin American-Statesman. He says if the right investor steps up, it could be the biggest water deal in North America.

The springs are flush today, but Price says in the 1940s, mechanized pumping from agriculture like pecan groves and alfalfa farming drew the water reserves dry.

Agricultural property owners are now trying to export the water they’ve been using to grow their crops. And they’ve got some support.

“The city, which has resisted some efforts to export water, is now basically getting in the game,” Price says. “There is a lot of potential for a lot of money. They’re talking about selling it to cities as far away as San Angelo, Odessa, Midland – so some of these are hundreds of miles away. And the idea is to provide water to those cities when they need it.”

The plan does not yet have an infrastructure for pumping and transporting the mass quantities of water it’s proposing to sell. Price says it might be a few years before the plan takes shapes – and a couple of hundreds of millions of dollars. But the city is playing the long-game.

“So you have these water developers going out, trying to find financing for a project that may or may not ever happen,” Price says.

Post by Beth Cortez-Neavel.