An Essential Element

An Essential Element

Water.  It’s perhaps the most important element in life, and yet, we continue to take it for granted.  

Consider this. The average adult human body is 50-65% water and relies on water to sustain itself – typically, one-half of our body weight in ounces each day. The average American adult weighs 175 pounds[1].  This means that the 242,542,967 adults in America[2] each need to drink 87.5 oz. of water daily – a whopping 165,800,856 gallons of water consumption each day in the United States alone. And folks, this doesn’t include any of the water that we all expend for washing, toiletries, watering our gardens, etc. Where’s it all going to come from?  

Like Athens, many cities have deep well systems that tap into aquifers well below the earth’s surface.  The question is whether or not these aquifers can handle the demand placed upon them for any length of time. After all, it’s all one water.

During a recent episode of the popular CBS television series 60 Minutes, reporter Lesley Stahl discussed the Depletion of Water on a global scale.  The GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) project at NASA reveals shocking global groundwater losses. The episode specifically discussed groundwater losses in India and California, but one look at the maps produced by GRACE indicates that Texas isn’t faring too well either.  Visit http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/tx-drought.html#.VGvE-DTF-So to view various charts collected by GRACE.

Enough doom and gloom.  What we’re all interested in knowing is – how will this groundwater loss impact us?  

Locally, the Athens Municipal Water Authority has been taking proactive steps that will ensure the residents and businesses in Athens, Texas will have enough sustainable water to last into the distant future. Our water comes from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer – one of the nation’s largest groundwater supplies.  The aquifer extends from the Rio Grande in South Texas northeastward into Arkansas and Louisiana, providing water to all or parts of 60 counties. Currently, our deep lines can yield up to 1,000,000 gallons of water each day from this groundwater source. With a future well farm planned, this number can increase to as much as 10,000,000 gallons per day in the future, and without affecting the quality of life provided by Lake Athens. 

The Athens Municipal Water Authority will continue to protect our valuable water resource to meet the needs of our community long-term.  Follow this blog site to learn more about our local resources, tips and ideas on how to conserve water, and much more.

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[1] The average man weighs 191 pounds while the average woman weighs 159. 175 is the average weight of the sexes when combined.

[2] As per 2013 census estimates



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