Rural Texas Residents Fight Pollution With a New Water Utility

The new utility could address some years-long issues

Texas panhandle
Texas residents have been having a challenging time as of late.
Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images

It’s hard to understate the importance of clean water to virtually every part of daily life. We drink it and use it for cooking; it’s also an essential part of how we stay clean and how we keep the objects we use every day clean and safe to use. This importance of water is one of the reasons the crisis surrounding the water in Flint, Michigan hit home for so many people: when you take clean water out of the equation, other essential parts of life start to crumble.

All of which makes a new report out of the Texas panhandle resonate that much more. As the Texas Tribune‘s Pooja Salhotra reports, residents of small rural communities outside of Lubbock have responded to water pollution with a unique solution: starting their own utility.

As Salhotra writes, the residents of four communities are dealing with longstanding issues — what reports from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality have described as decades’ worth of several harmful substances, including fluoride and arsenic, in the water.

Hence the creation of the South Plains Water Supply Corporation, which is in the process of applying for state grants that would give the utility the resources it needs to make the water safe to drink for the first time in years. As the Texas Tribune‘s reporting points out, creating a new utility isn’t unique to this region; several Florida communities have opted for a similar approach.

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Both federal and state funding are available in Texas to address issues when it comes to water infrastructure systems — and by creating the South Plains Water Supply Corporation, local residents are hopeful that they’ll be able to access that to make some much-needed improvements.

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