When the Wells Dry Up: Part Two

Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 9:25 PM CDT
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WEST ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - We’ve interviewed with West Odessans whose wells are drying up and have been fighting for years to hook up to ECUD’s water lines.

“For the Ector County Utility District to expand, it takes a lot of money, it takes a massive amount of money, a million dollars a mile,” said ECUD President Tommy Ervin.

Ervin says he has listened to people’s complaints about the water situation in West Odessa since joining the board in 2007 and they are getting worse every day.

“I’ve been in the water well business since June of 1962 and a lot of its in West Odessa so I understand the groundwater system and when people say their wells are going dry or they become brackets and they can’t drink it, their animals can’t drink it I understand that,” said Ervin.

The biggest roadblock ECUD faces is funding.

Ervin says ECUD works with subdivisions as part of their master plan, paying the difference between a six inch and 12 inch line.

“That helps in moving water further out after the subdivision is done for another subdivision. That is how ECUD is playing the part of preparing for the future,” said Ervin.

The next step for ECUD is to get community development block grant funds, to bring water to those outside of the district. Ervin says he is in the process of gathering the data needed to apply for those funds, but they won’t get answers on those funds until 2024.

“We also have some meetings with some other politicians to try to get the extra money that the state has. You know there’s $34 billion to try to get those in pipelines,” said Ervin.

Ervin says ECUD is working hard, but it’s hard to help everyone, especially those not already in the district.

“ECUD’s not paying for it I can say that now people can beat me up and all that kinda stuff thats the cold truth I can’t beat around the bushes on this one,” said Ervin.

Another solution for ECUD is focusing on people who have three or more RVs on their property in West Odessa to make sure the property turns commercial, to raise taxes, helping ECUD get more water in the district.

If you are concerned about your water, Ervin urges you to register to vote and reach out to the house and senate representatives at the local and federal level for more funding.