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When It Comes To Water, North Texas City's Supply Running On Empty

MINERAL WELLS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Residents like Tina Peters know all too well about the long-lasting drought in North Texas. As the water supply dries up, so does the money flowing into her car wash business.

"A lot of us depend on water to run our businesses," Peters said. "I don't know if I'm going to stay in business, you know."

Mineral Wells main water source, Lake Palo Pinto, is only about 25-pervent full. That's only enough to provide water for residents for the next 400 days or so.

City leaders say there is no threat, at this point, of residents running out of drinking water because a contingency plan is in place.

"We will be looking at doing a blending routine where we take out water of the Brazos River and blend that water with water from Lake Palo Pinto," said Lance Howerton, City Manager for the city of Mineral Wells.

The blending would give the city about 150 more days of water. Should the drought continue, the city would have to resort to pumping from the Brazos River exclusively.

"We'll have to altogether change our treatment process because of the chloride content—the salt that you find in the Brazos River," Howerton said. That would cost the city, and at some point water customers, more money.

The city is in negotiations with water rights holders to obtain temporary water rights to pump out of the Brazos River and hopes those negotiations will be complete by June 1.

Stage 3 water restrictions begin on April 1, which, for residents, means outdoor watering will only be allowed once a week.

"We've spent a lot of money plant and we grow a lot of our own vegetables and things so it'll depend on the rain, whether we'll actually have a harvest," said Deborah Campbell, a Mineral Wells resident and owner of The Kraze clothing store.

Peters and other residents say they are doing the only thing they can at this point. "We pray for rain every Sunday at church."

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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