After more than a year of planning, constructing and drilling, the Hunter Well Field is nearly ready to pump fresh water to Sweetwater residents.
The wells — which run approximately 200 feet deep — will help ease the water burden the city has faced since Oak Creek Reservoir ran dry in late 2013. City engineers Enprotec Hibbs & Todd estimates the wells' production capacity to be anywhere from 900,000 to one million gallons of water per day. City officials have pegged the number at 750,000-900,000 gallons.
The city of Sweetwater currently uses more than two million gallons of water per day and alternates which wells are being used for production. Utilities Director Eddie Campbell said about 70 percent of the water used comes from wells such as the ones at Hunter Field. The other 30 percent comes from surface water, such as Oak Creek.
Before the wells can start providing the water, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will take samples from them to ensure the water meets the agency's standards.
Campbell doesn't expect any problems to arise from the testing. If all goes as planned, the wells will be producing by the middle of Sept.
"This will relax some of the other wells," Campbell said. "It will allow the other wells to recharge. And if the city grows, it will be a way to provide more water, especially if the lakes are still dry."
John Voller, construction manager for Enprotec Hibbs & Todd, said that the addition of the six wells — which makes a total of 40 the city can use — is a good long term strategy to combating the droughts and dryness Sweetwater has experienced in recent years.
"Water is the most important resource," Voller said. "The city lives, grows and dies with its water supply. It doesn't matter how many oil wells you have, if you have no water you can't do anything. The city has been very proactive in its search for water sources."