Water conservation seminar appeals to Amarillo city officials

AMARILLO, Texas---As the drought continues, many Amarillo residents are wondering if we could soon see water restrictions.

The City of Amarillo is starting to think outside the box for a long term solution when it comes to saving one of the world's most precious resources.

During the summer, the city dishes out more than 80 million gallons of water per day.

The drought combined with a rather dry outlook for months to come could put a strain on our water supply.

"We've got the water that we need now and for tomorrow," City Manager Jarrett Atkinson said. "We have water available to us for the future but that water will have to be developed."

So to gather ideas and learn more about ways to conserve, City of Amarillo employees, members from the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District along with business owners and residents from across the region gathered today for an 8-hour seminar filled with water conservation wisdom.

"We have to think 50, 75 or 100 years into the future," said Emmett Autrey, Director of Utilities."Some people would say we have lots of water now or we have all the water we needed but the big question is will we have enough water that our great grandchildren will need?"

That's a question that remains unanswered.

"The primary resource that we draw upon for our water is the Ogalala aquifer," Atkinson said.

That is one resource that is limited, just like Lake Meredith.

In the midst of all of this, there is good news.

City officials say we aren't in danger just yet, which could be why we haven't seen any mandatory water restrictions in recent years.

"Last summer we asked for voluntary compliance," Atkinson said.

But we're told this summer could be different.

The city has the ability to put mandatory restrictions in place but for now, it's a wait-and-see case that will be determined as time progresses.