Ranchers In Cherokee County Lose Water For Livestock - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/16/06-Cherokee County

Ranchers In Cherokee County Lose Water For Livestock

The severe drought in East Texas, continues to hurt farmers and ranchers everyday. Recently, some Cherokee County cattle ranchers lost their only source of water for their livestock.  Gum Creek runs south of Jacksonville to the bottom lands of Cherokee County. Down there, you'll find cattle ranchers and farm land. What you won't find is water.

"It stopped running three weeks ago," said cattle rancher Johnny Croft.  Croft has lived on his land all his life. He says the creek water came from Lake Jacksonville until the city shut off the water supply.

"Always up until this year when we would call them and ask them to turn water loose they would turn water loose," said Croft. With no water in the creek, Croft is forced to use his own well water, but others are not so lucky.

"My neighbor over here he doesn't have that luxury because he doesn't live on the place," said Croft. "If he doesn't get some water relief sometime in the next few weeks he's going to have sell his cows."

The city of Jacksonville says the creeks that run into the lake are dry, so there's no water coming in, and that means the city is not required by the state to let any water out.

"Within the past week or ten days there was a state inspection or state assessment of the state water discharge and the inspector from the TCEQ state department said under the circumstances, we became under no obligation to let water out," said City of Jacksonville Mayor Robert Haberle. 

To get water downstream, the city was letting out 200 thousand gallons a day, which the city says is not an efficient way to use water.

"We've been in a continuous two-year drought situation," said Haberle. "It's on us to provide for and make sure there is adequate water supply for the residents of the city of Jacksonville."

Ranchers like Croft say, they feel defeated.  "You get this defeated attitude after awhile because you don't get no water," said Croft. "You have to feed cows because the pastures are just about gone, and I don't know what's going to happen if we don't get some rain."

The city says Lake Jacksonville is down about four feet right now, and until Jacksonville sees a significant amount of rain, the city does not plan on letting any water out.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com


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