THE WATER RESOURCES OF TEXAS

THE WATER RESOURCES OF TEXAS

A campaign to study the water resources of the semi-arid and arid parts of West Texas is now to be made by the Bureau of Economic Geology and lechnology of the University of Texas. This was announced in an article on the mineral resources of the State and printed in the Galveston “News,” by William B. Phillips, director of the bureau. In the article he said: “When we speak of mineral wealth we are all too apt to exclude underground water, whether artesian or otherwise. We do not, ordinarily, regard water as a mineral, nor is it so regarded by our mining laws. And yet of all the minerals in the world it is the most important. It is in a class of itself. Nothing else can be compared with it in its real, vital importance. It is the one thing we.must have or perish. Are we to be content to classify thousands and ten of thousands of square miles as dry grazing lands without an honest effort to better the situation? Are these lands to be leased forever for a few cents an acre a year? Is there no better use to which they may be put? The structural geologist who has given special attention to such matters is now able to advise with a considerable degree of certainty where and at what depths water may be found, but neither he nor anyone else may express an opinion as to the amount or quality of this water. There may be much or little; it may be good or bad; drilling operations alone can determine this. But here is the main point of this discourse: A great deal of money has been spent in drilling for water, for oil or gas, at the least favorable places. To determine the most favorable places requires time and money. It is an old saying that one man can see as far into the ground as another. This is true in a sense. It is also true that by long study of the structure of the earth some men can make a much closer guess as to what is in the earth than those who have had no such training. The most important and the most imperative are the water resources of the semi-arid and the arid parts of West Texas, an area as large as the State of Missouri and with assessable property now valued at more than $200,000,000. What are we going to do about it? I can answer only for this bureau. Beginning the first of September, we shall put a man in the field for the express purpose of studying this matter. We would have done this long ago if we had had the means. The last Legislature gave the means to make a start. The money becomes available Sept. 1 and we shall begin then.”

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