Texas city faces bone dry reality

GROESBECK, Texas - The city of Groesbeck, about 100 miles south of Dallas, is home to just over 4,000 people, including many farmers and coal miners.

CBS News correspondent Anna Werner reports the Brewed Awakenings restaurant here survived the great recession. But owner Joey Armstrong worries it may not make it through the great drought of 2011. Groesbeck expects to run out of water in two weeks.

The city of Groesbeck, Texas expects to soon run out of water after enduring 90 days of temperatures over 100 degrees this year.
The city of Groesbeck, Texas expects to soon run out of water after enduring 90 days of temperatures over 100 degrees this year.
CBS News

"It's possible we would have to close," Armstrong said. "Employees would be out of work. I mean I've got to be able to wash dishes."

More about the city of Groesbeck

Total rainfall in Groesbeck this year is off by more than one-third, and there were 90 days of temperatures above 100 degrees this past summer. The combination dried up the city's water supplies.

The Navasota River is now flowing at 75 percent below normal. At Fort Parker Lake, 730 million gallons of water have now evaporated.

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Tom Hawkins, who runs The Groesbeck Journal, said, "People are very concerned." For several weeks, he ended his newspaper stories about the water problems with "please continue to pray for rain." He said he was "trying to put a postive note on a very negative situation, I guess."

Groesbeck gets most of its water from a single pipe coming from Fort Parker Lake. But the lake has dropped four feet. If it drops another two inches, the pipe will soon run dry.

Groesbeck Mayor Jackie Levinstrong decided the city had to take action. Acting on her recommendation, the city council voted to pipe water from a nearby quarry. The emergency project could cost Groesbeck as much as $225,000. That's the same amount of money that funds Groesbeck's public works department.

"I'm very optimistic about the fact we're going to make it," Levinstrong said. "We have to, we just have to."

The city has banned all outdoor watering. So Hawkins waters what few plants he has left with the used water from his shower.

Armstrong's plan however, is simpler. "Just say a little prayer," she said. "Say a lot of them."

There are a lot of prayers here, and in other communities as well. A dozen other Texas cities have notified the state they too, may not have enough water to make it until spring.

Monday night, the area around Groesbeck got about two inches of rain, meaning it seems Armstrong's prayers have been answered -- at least until around Christmas.

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