County eyes water distribution for drought-stricken ranchers
Precinct 3 Commissioner Dale Jaecks told Milam County commissioners Monday he had a plan to truck water from Alcoa’s Rockdale Operations to drought-stricken cattle raisers in the county.
“If there’s any left, that is,” Jaecks said.
Immediate action was tabled, but by midweek, with the anticipated cooperation of rural water systems, a plan to have water available, at minimal cost, at several locations around the county was in the works.
“We’ve got to do anything and everything we can to help our farmers and ranchers,” Jaecks said. “This drought is about as bad as I’ve ever seen.”
ALCOA—Jaecks said he had talked to officials at Alcoa’s Rockdale Operations who promised to provide non-potable (not for human consumption) well water for transportation by the county.
“Capacity is going to be the key,” Jaecks said. “The ranchers would need at least 1,000 gallons capacity, some sort of metal or concrete. We wouldn’t deliver to any earthen ponds (stock tanks). That just doesn’t work.”
Jaecks said several years ago Alcoa provided a “self service” water distribution point on US 77 south of Rockdale.
“Their folks in Pittsburgh advise against doing that again,” Jaecks said. “It’s a liability concern.”
Jaecks envisions using a 2,500-gallon tanker to deliver water.
ACCESS POINTS—Jaecks said Southwest Milam, Minerva and North Milam Water Supply Corporations are looking into the possibility of providing access points around the county where residents can pick up water for a nominal cost.
Jaecks said ac cess poi nts are envisioned at US 79 and CR 329, near Minerva a nd near Maysfield.
“These would be places which would need to be sta ffed, maybe something like 3 p. m. until dark on specified days,” he said.
“We’re going to need volunteers,” he said. “We’ll need people to staff the distribut ion points and also to drive the water tr uck s.”
C ONCER NS —A num ber of details rema in to be worked out.
Pou ltryraisers have askedto be included in the water distribution.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Kenneth
Hollas asked how water routes might be worked out to ser ve residents on a regular basis.
“What if they get to depend on you and you don’t get the re to replenish it? They may get mad at you,” he said.
Jaecks made a motion to table the request for two weeks, unt il the next commissioner session, to gauge the degree of interest.
The motion passed.
“What we need people to do, if they ’re inte rest ed , is call th e count y judge’s office at 254- 697- 7000,” he said.
“A lso, if you’re int erest ed in volunteering to drive a water truck or st aff one of the access points, please call the sa me number,” he said.
“Rig ht now we’re in the stage where we need inp ut to see if there’s enough interest to get this thing going,” Jaecks said . “And ever yone needs to understand this is not water for human consump - tion.”