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West Texas town rations water and worries about running dry

While the news that brought AP photographer Tony Gutierrez to Robert Lee, Texas was the drought, I can't help but look at the lead photo below and think of the shots of main street in the classic film, The Last Picture Show (clip at bottom of this post). The film is set in Anarene, Texas.

Tony Gutierrez / AP

Superintendent of waste and water management for the water department Eddie Ray Roberts shows photos of Lake E.V. Spence as the main town strip in Robert Lee, Texas, is seen at rear. In the small rural farming community of about 1,000 in the middle of West Texas, people are worried that Lake could dry up by winter and leave the town without any water.

Tony Gutierrez / AP

Eddie Ray Roberts, superintendent of the city's waste and water department is shown walking on the dried bed of Lake E.V. Spence in Robert Lee, Texas. Roberts makes the trek toward the water line near the spillway daily to check on the pump that is feeding Mt. Creek Reservoir nearly 1.3 million gallons of water daily. Every few days, Roberts or members of his small department must relocate the pump because of the receding water line.

Tony Gutierrez / AP

Superintendent of the waste and water department for the city, Eddie Ray Roberts, shuts off the running water on a hydrant in Robert Lee, Texas. Roberts said that it makes him sick to open up the hydrants and release so much of the valuable source that his small town is in much need of. But a nearby water main break required him to do so. Relieving the pressure in the system allows Roberts to make the repair.