Now local landowners say their wells are running dry. This has led experts to investigate which major city in the world could be the first to run out of water completely. And it could be a city right here in the U.S. UU.
The deal with Vista Ridge is sending billions of dollars out of San Antonio, including an enormous double-digit rate of return to investors (originally the Spanish transnational company, Abengoa, but now eight foreign banks, in addition to private investors). The business community embarked on a “quest” to diversify water sources because fear of water scarcity was hurting economic development, said Pérez, executive director of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. San Antonio began looking for water elsewhere, a politically difficult task because importing it would be extremely expensive and could harm the environment. In addition, the capture, treatment and reuse of municipal stormwater could become an important local source of water supply, simultaneously preventing damage caused by floods and pollution of the San Antonio River.
San Antonio residents can also come together to prepare the entire city to overcome the inevitable droughts (and floods) that lie ahead. While several private landowners are starting to sell their groundwater to cities such as San Antonio and El Paso, the vast majority of the state's water has no commodity value, just like, for example, a barrel of oil. But if San Antonio were to start thinking of those watersheds as water catchment, SAWS (along with all the other agencies that deal with water management and flood control) could invest, not in further channeling stormwater runoff, but rather in capturing and treating stormwater as close as possible to where it falls and where it can be used effectively. George Rice, a San Antonio groundwater hydrologist who represented landlords who opposed the project, said he wasn't surprised that residents now need to reduce their pumps.
Every morning since the end of June, Allen Ramírez has been part of an ongoing trucking operation to keep water flowing for the people of Concan, a small town about 85 miles west of San Antonio. The pipeline helped conserve the delicate Edwards aquifer, on which San Antonio has historically depended for water. San Antonio's main water source (underground, the Edwards aquifer) is at much lower risk than the reservoirs fed by the Melbourne River, which are subject to significant evaporation, especially during summer heat waves.