Groundwater: The future of the panhandle

Emmett Autrey, City of Amarillo Director of Utilities
Emmett Autrey, City of Amarillo Director of Utilities

Diana Crawford
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority has put a halt to pumping Lake Meredith for water as of this month. CRMWA is now supplying Panhandle cities completely with groundwater.

Lake Meredith has been supplying the Panhandle with water for over 50 years, but with the lake at a low 38 feet, the pumps have fallen silent, at least for now.

CRMWA will provide a small amount of lake water during the summer months this year thanks to the high demand for water.

But Amarillo is looking elsewhere. The city expects the Potter County Well Field project to be up and running this summer. City of Amarillo Director of Utilities Emmett Autrey says, "What we plan to do is to bring on anywhere from 5 to 10 of the 21 wells by the end of June, and the others would be connected up after that. What we want to do is bring in enough to supply water in case we have a failure of water supply from Lake Meredith."

Autrey says the city has more than 250,000 acres of water rights in the Panhandle, most of which have not been drilled on yet. He believes Amarillo is set for water for the next 50 years, completely depending on well water.

But Autrey says though water restrictions aren't necessary any time soon, water conservation is key, since our groundwater is not a replenishable source.