Texas AM Study: North Texas Water Disappearing
Two scientists from the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at Vernon warn of likely future problems looming with the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex’s main water supply. AgriLife Research geospatial hydrology assistant professor Dr. Srinivasulu Ale, and his post-doctoral research associate Dr. Sriroop Chaudhuri recently completed an evaluation of groundwater resources in the Trinity and Woodbine aquifers that lie under the metroplex, and have published their findings in an international journal, Science of the Total Environment.
The “Characterization of Groundwater Resources in the Trinity and Woodbine Aquifers in Texas” study’s primary research objective was to map and analyze the changes in water levels and quality in the Trinity and Woodbine aquifers between 1960 and 2010. Data used for the analysis was provided by the Texas Water Development Board.
An article by Texas A&M Agrilife Today’s Kay Ledbetter notes that the Trinity Aquifer is a major aquifer extending across much of the central and northeastern part of the state, while the Woodbine Aquifer is a minor aquifer located in northeast Texas and overlies the Trinity Aquifer. Both aquifers provide water for municipal, industrial, domestic, livestock and small irrigation supplies.
The study abstract notes that “a vast region in north-central Texas, centering on Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, suffers from intense groundwater drawdown and water quality degradation, which led to inclusion of 18 counties of this region into Priority Groundwater Management Areas.”
In today’s Dallas Morning News, writer Wendy Hundley reports that Robert Mace, a Texas Water Development Board administrator tells the News that he was surprised by the study’s findings on water quality, he said the decline in the aquifers’ levels is well documented.
“We’re continuing to pump water from the aquifer at greater levels than it can support,” he said. “The levels continue to go down.”With population growth, “the aquifer is incapable of supplying enough water to support the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” Mace said.
Because lakes are vulnerable to drought and evaporation, groundwater will become a more important resource, he said. Groundwater provides only 7 percent of the region’s water supplies, Mace said.
But that could change in the coming years, said Ken Kramer, water resources chair for the Sierra Club Lone Star chapter.“So we better protect that source of water for the future,” Kramer said.