A group of Crosbyton High seniors has some ideas to conserve their local water supply.
The team — Timothy Appling, Briana Garcia, Kenley Henn and Rose Williams — formed those ideas in an award-winning project. As winners of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District’s 2017 H2YOU water conservation contest, they earned a trip to Austin. The visit will include meetings with a state representative and/or the Texas Water Development Board.
The students studied their local water supplier. Headquartered a few miles south of Crosbyton, the White River Municipal Water District also supplies water to three neighboring towns.
“We talked about how it was founded and how it operates,” said Rose, 17.
Timothy, 17, chimed in, “It was founded in 1957, when the towns of Post, Crosbyton, Spur and Ralls came together and formed the White River Municipal Water District.”
The group’s research found a scary spot in the water district’s history: in 2014, after three years of drought, the lake was nearly dry.
“We learned in Crosbyton in 2014 we ran completely out of water and had to use wells,” said Briana, 18.
More research showed the history of those wells. The district applied for grants in the late ’90s, then received $2.1 million to update the well system.
“I’m sure that’s what saved us in 2014,” Rose said.
To maximize the area’s water supply, the students suggested retrofitting the lake’s water treatment plant and reusing Crosbyton’s treated wastewater. Of course, significant advances to the water treatment plant would cost money; the team theorizes all four towns would have to come together for funding.
They also encourage their fellow Crosby community members to use less water, such as by washing only full laundry loads and taking shorter showers.
“You can take easy steps to conserve water,” said Kenley, 18.
Rose agreed, “I think just educating people on our current situation would help.”
The students’ principal said he’s impressed how much time and effort the students put into the project, despite their busy schedules. All four participate in other extracurricular activities such as basketball and Business Professionals of America.
“They’ve worked really hard,” Glen Hill said. “They’re involved in everything, and for them to be able to find time to work on this … they really put together a good project. I’m really proud of ’em.”
The team won after presenting the project to a panel of judges Monday at the water district office. Second place went to a group from Sudan: Aubrie Fields, Tucker Howell, Callen Netherland and Emma Rich.
“The HPWD Board of Directors and staff commend the student teams for their hard work, insight and dedication in addressing water conservation issues,” said Katherine Drury, the water district’s education and outreach coordinator, in a news release. “The judges were very impressed with the students and their presentation.”
The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District serves 16 area counties.