The computer generated phone message warned citizens about City Council's decision to reuse waste water. They called the decision "toilet to tap" and encouraged citizens to speak out against it. San Angelo is not the first community to face this issue:
Opposition comes more from a knee-jerk response to wastewater--the "yuck" factor--than from concerns about the water's chemical composition. In people's minds it's "once in contact, always in contact," explains Rozin. "Even if you convince people you did every conceivable thing to [purify] the water they would still be reluctant to drink it.It wasn't clear from the call what group is behind opposing the potable use of reclaimed water. However, one group is the current beneficiary of the city's waste water, irrigation farmers in the Tom Green County Water Control and Improvement District.
Tom Green County WCID #1 is served by a concrete lined canal with 117 field turn-outs providing irrigation water for approximately 10,000 to 15,000 acres of farmland.
San Angelo's treated waste water is delivered via pipe to the district's canal.
(Annually since 2003) the city delivered 8,750 acre-feet — 2.8 billion gallons — of treated wastewater to the 16-mile canal, which runs northeast from Lake Nasworthy to just past the small community of Veribest.Former Water Czar Will Wilde is a cotton farmer in the TGCWCID. I'm sure he and his fellow farmers want to keep access to cheap treated waste water. They no longer have insider Wilde's protection. Might that require more drastic measures, like robo calling?
The agreement is set to expire in 2031, the year the district will finish paying off the $2 million canal. The city will finish paying off the $13 million Twin Buttes Dam in 2015.