Down to one water well… Devine calls emergency meeting, new pump and back-up on the way

By Kathleen Calame
Publisher, The Devine News
The pump on the Edwards Water Well #1 went down last Friday, August 25, 2023 leaving only one well to service the entire City of Devine, prompting an emergency meeting. At one point in time the City of Devine had five wells.

The Edwards Well #1 had a rebuilt pump placed on it right after the big freeze. This backup pump has now burnt out, shutting down Edwards Well #1. It was drilled in the 1990s.
This left only one water well as of Friday, the Edwards #2 water well, to service the entire town serving over 1,700 users.
“We asked for an emergency meeting and for the council to get a new pump to replace this one, as well as another one to save as a backup pump,” said Dora Rodriguez, Interim City Administrator in an interview Monday, August 28.
“They approved getting 2 pumps. We asked Tom and the Auditors if we can use the last of the money from the water meter project from back in 2017 or 2018. Since we have paid all those bills and are not obligated anymore, we asked if we can we use that money for these pumps. We have around $157,000 of money sitting in there, which they said, yes we can use for the pumps,” said Rodriguez.
Public Works Director Pete Sanchez estimated the pumps to cost around $43,000 each, plus the cost of installation.
What’s the timeline?
“Pete Sanchez ordered them and we asked him to put a rush on them,” Rodriguez said.
They stated the pumps are located in San Antonio, and they will hopefully be installed in the next few days, not more than a week.
“We are down to just one well at the moment. That’s why Pete was so concerned, being down to just one well and no backup.”
Sanchez adds, “Medina Electric is going to replace the old transformer on Edward’s #1 this Thursday. That well was built in the early 1970s. The old transformer burnt up as well as our pump. So they will replace the electrical on their side, put in a new transformer. Then our electrician will replace the electric line at the well when he brings the pumps. We hope to have it all up and running next week.”

What other wells do or did we have?
Currently the Bain Well, which is a Carrizo Aquifer well, is waiting on repairs also.
“JR put together a proposal and we went out for bids. The estimated cost is over $50,000 to repair the leak at the main pipe coming from the well into the ground. When we get the Bain well back online (and the Edwards #2) we would then have three wells, one a Carrizo and two Edwards wells,” said Rodriguez.
“The Harrison well (also a Carrizo well) died”.
“The LC Martin well (also a Carrizo well) went down after the winter storm and never came back on right.”
“ And we have the Bain well (Carrizo one),” said Rodriguez, which they are hoping to repair as stated earlier.
“At one time the City of Devine had 5 water wells, 3 Carrizo wells and 2 Edwards wells,” adds Denise Duffy.
Edwards wells allotment
“We have a total is 911.7 acre feet we have purchased. We don’t have all of it in one pot, it’s a combination used between the municipal and irrigation, the total acre feet of water,” said Rodriguez.
“In the event, we have a water reduction stage(s), like we are in now, we can move over acre feet of water from irrigation to municipal, so we don’t get dinged or fined like up to $50,000. It helps save us, in other words, we don’t have all our eggs into one basket.”
Where does the water come from and go
Both the City of Devine water wells known as Edwards #1 and Edwards #2 are located in the country on FM 1343 on the road between Devine and Castroville. The water flows from those wells on FM 1343 to the Warhorse Water Tower storage tank and then up into the Warhorse Water Tower (The one next to the football field painted maroon and gold) and then distributed into town into the other water towers at the golf course and downtown etc.
The storage tank at the Warhorse Water Tower is over 50 years old, and was the top of discussion not too long ago as to the concern that it needs replacing since it is not repairable and has aged.
The city has been working with the school district to buy one acre of land near the Warhorse Water Tower to build a new water storage tank on the ground near it to replace the current one. The new one would be larger than the old one we are currently using. It is receiving the water from the Edwards # 1 and Edwards #2. The final approval of the purchase is on the agenda for this week.
Down to one well before
The City was down to one well before from January til July14, 2023 as they were getting the Edwards #2 back up and running, and were able to do that just in time, it appears. At that time, only the Edwards #1 was running. So this is not the first time this had happened, but is worrisome.
“We need both wells up especially now during Stage 4,” said Rodriguez.
Stage 5 nearing
Although the City of Devine has purchased the 911.7 acre feet of water to use from the Edward’s Aquifer, during drought reduction stages that figure is reduced by 20% at Stage 3, up to 40% at Stage 4, which we are currently in today. It will then will go up to 60% water reduction during Stage 5, which we are getting close to. And taxpayers will be paying quite a bit if water usage is over what the city is approved to use.
What can you do?
Citizens are encouraged to do everything they can to reduce water usage in every way possible to reduce the strain on the current well. Also not using any more water than necessary during the peak hours of 3 to 10 pm would help to reduce the load on the water system. Doing laundry during the day instead of peak hours would help, they suggested. Taking shorter showers, observing water restrictions for landscape, pools and lawns, will all save water for consumption and necessary needs.
We all can contribute. Every little bit helps.