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The TWDB visits Lubbock Posted on April 17, 2024


Tray Payne – Mayor, City of Lubbock

We're not the big city. We're kind of out here on the plains by ourselves, on this little Panhandle island out here in West Texas. It's an honor for them to want to come out here and see what's going on in Lubbock because we do sometimes get lost in the shuffle when you're not in the bigger cities.

Michael Keenum – City Engineer, City of Lubbock 

We live in what I like to call the land of flat. And so we've got very little drainage as far as slope goes. And so things like this behind me, the playa lakes, these are our natural drainage features and we call them regional detention basins. But this is where our streets convey the water to the playa lakes. And then we don't have a way for them to drain down without putting a pipe network in place to allow them to recover between rain events.

And so behind me you can see a structure that will take water out of the lake. There's a 90-inch pipe that leads out of this lake, and it travels about 8 miles to discharge into the canyon on the northeast side of town. We had assistance from the Texas Water Development Board to build this phase of the project that connected this lake. $35 million, zero percent interest loan was phenomenal for the City of Lubbock.

L'Oreal Stepney – Board Member, Texas Water Development Board

The playas retain water for up to six months at a time. So that is very, very unique with respect to flood control because what we're used to seeing, you know, on television is when it floods large amounts of rainfall just moving through a city fairly quickly. But here with the playas, the playas store water for a while, and they have to be managed differently.

Lloyd Arthur – Agricultural Producer, Arthur Farms 

Well, we're here on the bottom end of the Ogallala Aquifer, here on the South Plains. Our water is being depleted. It's a one-time use only type of a resource, so you need to be wise with it. At the same time, we need to make a living off of our land. 

We're doing things different than what my dad did or even my grandfather did with water. Not everything works on everybody's farm, but there's something that may work and help each one of us somewhere on our farm. And in 1992, I bought my first center pivot. It uses water in a more efficient way. And then from there, we've migrated to 10 pivots. And then we have drip irrigation. Some of the later technology that's come out the last several years is moisture sensors, pivot controllers, which actually gives you hands, 24-hour monitoring and hands-on with your smartphone. So there's a lot of technology that's more user friendly, easier to use. All this is time efficiency, water efficiency, and just being better stewards of the water that we're pumping.

George Peyton – Board Member, Texas Water Development Board 

Texas Panhandle is an agricultural juggernaut in the state of Texas and really across the country. So being here today, we've been able to see how agricultural producers have been able to use water effectively and efficiently, how we as a state have been able to help provide funds for water projects up here, and really see those dollars go to work. It's been fantastic to visit with producers and get stakeholder feedback on how we're going to implement the Texas Water Fund, which should go a long way to helping producers effectively grow crops.

Tray Payne – Mayor, City of Lubbock

Lubbock and this whole area of West Texas is the fuel, fiber, and food for this entire state. We have the largest contiguous land of cotton in the world. We produce more cotton in West Texas than anywhere in the world. We produce more food, the cattle industry, the fiber that we create, and just everything fuels from West Texas and agriculture out here. And if we don't have water, you're going to see a struggle not only in this region but also in the state of Texas and, I think, in the country because it's so vital out here.

This article is posted in Water Planning / State Project / Financial Assistance / Water Supply / Conservation .