Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is one of a growing number of wealthy residents who are drilling wells to get around water restrictions during one of the worst droughts in history — a practice that environmentalists are warning could leave less water for everyone else.
The Texas Tribune reported on Sunday that Abbott had installed the well just months before the city of Austin began cracking down on lawn-watering restrictions.
According to the Tribune, some of the resident’s in Abbott’s luxury Pemberton Heights neighborhood had marked their lawns with signs that noted “Watering by Private Well” to avoid being hassled by the city.
“To me it’s just unconscionable,” Texas State University’s Meadows Center for Water and the Environment Executive Director Andrew Sansom told the Tribune. “It’s a total disregard for the resource… What we should be doing is reducing our consumption of water.”
Under Austin city law, Abbott is allowed to pump as much water out of the ground as he wants, even if it means another well goes dry in the process.
The National Drought Mitigation Center said last week that recent heavy rains had relieved the drought conditions in Travis County for now. But much of the surrounding area is continuing to suffer a pattern of drought that’s been ongoing since 2009.
The Texas Tribune could find no record of a well being drilled for Abbott’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis.
Watch this video from KVUE, broadcast Nov. 8, 2013.
[Image via Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons licensed]