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      CRMWA mulls pipeline proposal

      On Wednesday (Oct. 9), CRMWA's board of directors voted to approve a $1.6 million dollar study to evaluate the best proposed pipeline route from the well field in Roberts County to a reservoir just outside of Amarillo. And each one of those proposed routes have distinct advantages and disadvantages. The more direct route would run roughly parallel to Highway 60, which would be much easier to build and maintain, but would be initially more expensive due to higher right-of-way costs. Another would run through rougher terrain, where land costs are cheaper, but construction and maintenance would likely be considerably harder. Lake Meredith currently stands at just under 34 feet, and although CRMWA has pumped water from the lake at similar levels in the past, Deputy General Manager Chad Pernell says doing so now would raise the issue of water quality - which is understandably poor after prolonged and continuing drought. "It's a question of whether it's beneficial to do that," says Pernell, "because there's going to be extra effort on the city's part to treat that, and then if we do pump out of Lake Meredith, it's not going to last as long; it's obviously going to drop, so right now there's not any plans to do that." And although we live in a semi-arid region, our area is blessed with an abundant groundwater supply. The City of Amarillo's Assistant Utilities Director Floyd Anthony says although projections vary depending on who you ask, our groundwater should last well into the foreseeable future. "The aquifer supply that we have is evaluated to last at least 150 years at current use and growth expectations," says Anthony. "That doesn't mean we'll use it - we would like to conserve water and make that last 200 years plus." The study should probably take about a year - and if you'd like to learn more about CRMWA, you can find it at the link attached to this story.