Over the years, and recently far-too-often, Milam County and like other rural Central Texas counties have been made fully aware that the ground water we enjoy is greatly coveted by the ever growing Urban areas that surround us. With the I-35 Corridor between Georgetown and San Antonio being one of the fastest growing areas in the entire country, urban water usage is an ever-growing issue that threatens all of the surrounding regions water sources.
Be it the “Oppose the San Antonio Hose” signs around Milam and Burleson Counties to the morning conversations of the coffee drinking farmers and ranchers of the area, the water grab is a major topic of concern to many folks in rural Central Texas. If the water was required to meet the needs of an increase in population that would be one thing; and while that is the claim by those in power, that isn’t the entirety of the reason. NO, there are other, less-necessary issues that cause this requirement for water like water parks, HOA’s and Golf Courses to name a few.
Water parks are the epitome of first-world ridiculousness. They already abound all along the I-35 corridor here in Central Texas with more of them on the way. Not too very long ago it was enough to have the multiple lakes and rivers around Central Texas; however, now we need the added benefit of a water park every few miles to make it easier to get to watery fun!
Home Owners Associations have become the norm over the last 50 Years or so. And with those HOAs come the inevitable requirements for a well-watered and manicured lawn. Regardless of the drought conditions, the lawns in the neighborhoods must be maintained. If water usage and conservation was truly a concern of law-makers and developers along the I-35 corridor, then more communities would be embracing low water use lawn systems like other areas of the Southwest United States. Instead, they still continue to worry more about the appearance of their beautifully marketed green neighborhoods than they do the water they are wasting.
Lastly, there are golf courses. Now before anyone jumps the shark and deems me an anti-golf tree-hugging loon, let me assure you nothing could be farther from truth. I love playing golf. I’m not any good at it, but I love the game. That said, this is a tremendous waste of water in urban areas. At my count there are at least 16 full-sized golf courses in Williamson County alone and there are a couple more on the way. Now don’t get me wrong, I love golf, but in all honesty it is a huge waste of water in an area that apparently can’t sustain its own water use.
To Summarize, if simple population growth was the main reason for this water grab, then most rural residents in Central Texas would be less apprehensive; however, it’s far from that simple. These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg, but they easily demonstrate how the first-world excess the urban areas “require” can create a demand for rural water that is far an above that of mere sustainability. And remember, rural water is a must when you think that most of it is used for the very agricultural necessities those same urban areas require.