Our Water: worries in Christoval over aging dam

Water

1,000 people depend on four shallow wells, 150 year old dam

CHRISTOVAL, Texas – Christoval has a unique and precarious situation when it comes to their water. About 1,000 residents are dependent on just four wells, which require the nearby dam to function. If that 150 year old dam fails, Christoval won’t have a water source. Additionally, two of the four wells are not working.

“What we’ve got here in the park is four wells, two of them actually supply the town of Christoval their water,” explained Bill Ford, Tom Green County Commissioner for Precinct 4. “They’re operable, the other two are either sludged up or need repaired.”

These wells are supported by the dam in Pugh Park, since the wells are shallow and need the water held by the small reservoir. But, their importance can’t be over stated for the roughly 1,000 people who need them.

City Park water well access, Christoval. © Nexstar 2021

“The wells are critical to Christoval,” said Christoval resident Sylvia Pate. “The water wells in City Park are critical […] because they are the only source of water for their community, for the schools and for some surrounding developments.”

The dam is roughly 150 years old and showing its age, something local officials have taken note of, and are working to remedy. That’s why close monitoring and maintenance, such as replacing gauges and water meters is crucial. The consequences for not doing so, can vary widely. “This infrastructure requires constant maintenance and upkeep,” said Travis Tidwell with Texas Parks & Wildlife. “If you let that lapse, you start having infrastructure failures with the obvious problems. People are no longer getting those services like clean drinking water and and sanitary sewage removal, but it also causes environmental impacts and this can affect fish and wildlife.”

Officials in Christoval say the status of the dam in Pugh Park is is not an emergency yet, but it worrisome. Christoval doesn’t have water rights to pump from the Concho River, and a century of steady water flow and flooding events has eroded the downstream side of the dam. If it were to fail, the four wells Christoval draws its water from, will stop working.

That failure would effectively mean Christoval has no water. The county is working to secure funding before mid-summer. Work on the roughly $400,000 project is expected to be completed by fall. This is still a developing story and we will publish updates as they become available.

Tom Green Country Commissioner for Precinct 4 Bill Ford dam was built in 1876 and it was built as an irrigation canal that runs four miles north parallel with the river. It supplied the farms that had to grow food and other crops for Fort Concho, Fort McKavett and San Angelo. It still serves that purpose in small part today, providing more than just the local drinking water. The water not only feeds into Pugh Park, but also about 15 different properties, where it is being used for irrigation.

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Water Conservation Status

Standard Conservation

San Angelo is in standard conservation, which restricts outside watering to twice every seven days at no more than 1 inch per week, no watering between noon and 6 pm. Runoff of more than 150 feet down any street, gutter, alley or ditch is prohibited.

Report watering violations by clicking on https://www.cosatx.us/departments-services/water-conservation/report-a-water-violation or calling 325-657-4409. Do your part; be water smart!