Company exploring well field configurations and considering new purchases
Mesa Water announced it has executed water purchase contracts with 75 Texas Panhandle landowners covering about 100,000 acres at a total cost of $25 million. These purchases mark a key element of its initiative to sell Ogallala Aquifer groundwater to downstate municipalities facing water shortages.
The company said it has authorized its engineers and hydrologist to begin evaluating various well field configurations, another critical step in the process of marketing the water elsewhere in Texas. The water rights purchase contracts cover land in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle in Roberts, Gray, and Hemphill counties.
"We are pleased with this high level of response and support," said Boone Pickens, president of Mesa Water. "We have clearly demonstrated the value of area water rights and the viability of our initiative."
About 90,000 acres are in Roberts and Gray Counties with the remaining 10,000 in Hemphill County. Owners of about 75,000 acres sold an undivided 50 percent interest in their water rights while owners of the remaining 25,000 sold a 100 percent interest.
"The demonstration of continued commitment by the landowners retaining a 50 percent joint ownership interest with us is very supportive of our marketing efforts," Pickens added. "We welcome them as partners," he said.
Mesa Water will now own or control water rights under about 200,000 surface acres. "Because we own so much water already, and the area is blessed with an extensive surplus of water rights owned by non-farming landowners, we will have no problem acquiring additional water rights when needed for a municipal project downstate," Pickens said. The additional requirement for a downstate project would likely be about 100,000 acres, he added.
Mesa Water has maximum flexibility in well field design and location to meet a buyer's needs. "We can expand in all directions except west from our existing ownership base," Pickens said. "With Amarillo already having about a 300-year supply and Canadian River Municipal Water Authority (CRMWA) currently purchasing more water to cover primarily the demands of Lubbock, the principal municipal needs of the Northern Panhandle area are covered hundreds of years into the future. We have encouraged CRMWA to purchase water and have emphasized to them that there is plenty of water in the area to meet all needs. These recent purchases by both of us clearly demonstrate that to be the case."