A savings of more than $60 million is expected on the Alliance Regional Water Authority’s (ARWA) 45-mile water pipeline project, due to a new partnership struck June 20.
That partnership, which includes the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA), cut $30 million off of ARWA’s cost for the project, meaning its participants will not have to raise rates as much as previously thought.
ARWA Executive Director Graham Moore said the partnership also could provide opportunities for future projects and create a reduction in environmental impact by consolidating water projects.
ARWA plans to construct a pipeline that would funnel groundwater from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer to its member entities.
In 2017, GBRA closed on the purchase of a 15,000 acre-foot Carrizo-Wilcox project directly adjacent to ARWA’s, making a shared facility attractive.
“Instead of having two projects with two water treatment plants and two pipelines crossing in virtually the same area, we’re able to combine that into a single project, so I think that benefits the landowners and everybody in the region by having that one single project,” Moore said.
After facilities and pipeline completion, ARWA will deliver water to Buda, Kyle, San Marcos and the Canyon Regional Water Authority to help supplement their water supplies with groundwater from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer.
The two water authorities will share pipeline because each has customers in adjacent areas. GBRA’s customers include Lockhart, New Braunfels Utilities and Goforth Special Utility District (SUD) in Niederwald.
“I really think this is a true win-win and something that benefits all of us,” Moore said.
Moore said the pipeline project is expected to be completed by 2023 and has been in the works since about 2007.
“Our sponsors, the cities and Canyon Regional, all determined that they needed another water supply about 15 years ago, so we’ve been marching toward getting this water delivered since about that time,” Moore said.
Moore said a partnership would not have worked with GBRA in the past.
About two years ago, the GBRA leadership changed, opening the door to a conversation about how to combine projects. The water authorities began discussing the partnership in the last six months.
“I think it sets the stage for us to continue to work with GBRA in the future to develop water supplies beyond what we see for the Carrizo here. It kind of sets us up for a long-term relationship and allows us to have the ability to work together long into the future,” Moore said.
GBRA and Alliance Water will each produce about 15,000 acre-feet per year, or 26.8 million gallons of water per day, of permitted Carrizo Aquifer groundwater in Caldwell and Gonzales counties, treat it to drinking water standards and then deliver it to customers.
Buda City Manager and ARWA Board Member Kenneth Williams said the agreement is beneficial to all sponsors in the project.
“It’s a major and important part of this project to do this agreement with GBRA and I think it adds a lot of validity to the Alliance project,” Williams said.
The $236 million project will be financed with the Texas Water Development Board’s low-interest SWIFT Loan Program.
What does Buda need?
According to data from the city of Buda, total production from its current water source has risen by more than 100 million gallons over a seven year period. However, water conservation efforts have led to the city’s gallons per capita per day, or average household usage, to decrease during the same time frame. Buda, along with Kyle and several other entities, are sponsors of the Alliance Regional Water Authority’s (ARWA) pipeline project, which city officials believe could cover the need for water for the next few decades.
Year – Total Production (Gallons) – Gallons per Capita per Day
- 2010 – 346,959,700 -159
- 2011 – 383,702,600 – 159
- 2012 – 374,293,800 – 144
- 2013 – 412,954,800 – 138
- 2014 – 469,116,200 – 138
- 2015 – 386,821,400 – 106
- 2016 – 391,873,500 – 99
- 2017 – 456,084,600 – 113