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First The Wells, Now The Pumps - Water Scarce For Dallas Co. Farmers

Water Notice
(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The worst drought in Texas history is now leading to a fight for water in parts of southeast Dallas County.  Some farmers in the area say their wells are running dry and now city leaders have given notice their 'lifeline' water source will soon disappear.

"I'm a country boy," explained North Texan Mike Flowers. "The sun goes down. You can sit out here and listen to bullfrogs. Where you gonna find that? You can't find it anywhere else."

The country life is the only life the Flowers has ever longed for.

"I traveled the world and seen everything and I came back here - 'cause this is me," he said matter-of-factly.

Out on their property on the outskirts of Lancaster his family doesn't need much.

But, one thing they do need is water.

"When you have to do without water -- it's awful, said Mike's wife, Kelly.

The Flowers' found out firsthand how "awful" it could be. This weekend their well ran dry.

Mike says his family now depends on the same water his animals do. Now they're all relying on the water he pumps from a pay station in 'town'.

While the size of the water tank at the pay station is vast, a few weeks ago Mike noticed that the city had posted a sign.

It reads, "Effective October 1, 2011, this city of Lancaster Water Pay Station will be removed and no longer available for water service due to costly repair, maintenance, and control issues."

Lancaster City Manager Opal Mauldin-Robertson told CBS 11 News the city spends more money than it collects for the water at the pay station. As a result, the decision was made that the cost of maintaining it is too high.

Still, farmers argue they need the service.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," said farmer Francisco Arana, who uses the station to keep water running in his home. "If I could afford it I'd move somewhere else, but I can't."

The Flowers family and others in the area would be willing to do just about anything to keep the pay station open.

"If they doubled the price, or tripled the price, on this machine just to keep it going we would all still pay it, 'cause we need this water station," said Mike.

Without water Mike says his simple way of life could vanish. "If they shut them pumps down October first, it's gonna hurt a lot of people."

And the negative impact won't just be to residents in the area. ""All the animals, I'll have to get rid of them. If I can't find homes for them, we'll just sit and watch them die," he said. "There's a chance of losing everything. Everything."

Mauldin-Robertson said she couldn't say with certainty how many people in the Lancaster city limits, if any; depend on getting their water from wells. The very wells that for many, are now running dry. She said she would look into it.

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