Olton facing water crisis

Reported by: Henry Ramos
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Updated: 8/29/2012 2:44 am

The luxury days are over for the square mile city. Olton's main water resource is pretty much dehydrated. The community is facing a major dilemma that is affecting its more than 2,000 residents.

Olton resident Charles Martin said, "It is going to get pretty brown, pretty quickly."

The Martins stopped watering their backyard because the city is getting tougher with water restrictions.

Olton City Manager Marvin Tillman said, "We knew this was coming, but this year and last year's drought probably pushed this process up at least a minimum of five years."

Tillman said the problem is the city's water supply.

"We have six wells, all Ogallala wells they are approximately 315-330 foot deep," he said. Those wells have declined in production from anywhere from 40 to 60 percent in the last 15 months because of the drought."

So, the city decided to take a proactive approach.

"All we've had is unlimited use of water, and re-educating people to the fact that is no longer the case, this is not a rechargeable aquifer," Tillman said. "We don't have another alternative here, we didn't start out with a Lake Meredith, we don't have a Lake Alan Henry, we don't have the resources to buy water rights on four or five counties like Lubbock does."

Driving through the town, you saw posted on doors notices calling for stricter water restrictions. The restrictions are zero outside irrigation, which means only hand-held watering, no car washing, except for businesses washing business-related vehicles.

"I knew it was coming, I knew it was going to happen so not surprised, Megan Azam," Olton resident said.

Olton resident Michelle Leathers said, "What if it does get bad enough that we actually don't have any drinking water, and eventually it will come to that if we don't put any stipulations in it now."

"I feel like the city is doing what they can do, since we don't have any rain, or no water," Martin said.

"Our supply wont last years, it will last months," Tillman said. We are in a months situation on our current supply, that's why we are in the process of trying to drill wells, now hopefully those wells will sustain for a couple of decades."

Tillman said the luxury days of unlimited watering are over. He said the timetable is uncertain for the city to be at zero water restrictions.

However, Olton is encouraging its citizens to look at alternative landscaping like xeriscaping or turf grass. 

Watering restrictions are in place with fines for violations:

  • 1st Offense: $50 fine, plus $64 court costs =$114 

  • 2nd Offense: $100 fine, plus $64 court costs =$164

  • 3rd Offense:  $200 fine, plus $64 court costs =$264

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