Baylor Designated for Additional $500,000 in Federal Funding for Lake Whitney Water Quality Project

May 19, 2005

by Judy Long

Baylor University could receive an additional $500,000 for a study of Lake Whitney water salinity levels as a step in considering the reservoir as an alternative source of drinking water for Central Texas. The 2006 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which passed the appropriations committee May 18, adds to the $400,000 appropriated for 2005 to begin the $987,000 project.

U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards, a senior member of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, supports the effort because water availability is becoming a serious issue in Texas.

"Water will be to Texas in the 21st century what oil was in the 20th century. Protection of our water resources is vital, and this important research effort at Baylor will invest in our future and help protect economic growth," he said.

Vice provost for research Truell Hyde, who worked with Edwards for the backing, was glad to hear it passed the appropriations committee.

"This is the first step--a good step, certainly--toward getting the funding for a project that truly benefits everyone involved," he said.

Dr. Robert Doyle, director of Baylor's Center for Reservoir and Aquatic Systems Research, said the money approved for 2005 will cover a study of the physical characteristics, or limnology, of the lake. "We are currently working to get the contract in place with EPA and hope to be on the lake generating data by the end of the summer," he said.

Doyle said the funding currently moving forward in Congress is earmarked to cover research focusing on the use of Lake Whitney water for drinking water.

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