Public attitudes toward municipal water conservation on the Texas Southern High Plains and Rolling Plains
Pumphrey, Ronald G.
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The Texas Southern High Plains and the Rolling Plains regions have never had an over abundance of surface water. Lingering drought over the past several years has taken its toll on the water level in area reservoirs, the area's renewable water supply. In the past century, groundwater from the Ogallala aquifer has been extracted in such large quantities its water level has dropped precipitously. With virtually no recharge, the groundwater from the Ogallala, the area's non-renewable supply, is literally being mined. Little research has been conducted on the Texas Southern High Plains regarding attitudes toward the local water supplies and water conservation. One objective of this study is to gain an understanding of attitudes, awareness and perceptions of residents and city officials in select communities on the Texas Southern High Plains and Rolling Plains concerning the limited municipal water supply. A second objective is to determine attitudes toward water conservation measures that may be necessary at some time in the future because of limited supplies. The final objective is to present the results in such a manner that any municipality embarking on a water conservation program can utilize any or all of these data to formulate policies addressing water conservation. Data were collected from residents and city officials in six Southern High Plains towns by means of a phone survey. Selection of these particular six towns permits a comparison of residents' attitudes based on the three differing water sources available in the study area. Awareness of and attitudes toward the local water supply by residents and city officials, including the issue of water conservation, are analyzed and discussed.