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New system will increase water reliability and capacity in Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock Posted on February 07, 2023


Karen Bondy – General Manager, Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority

Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority, or BCRUA, is a regional partnership between three cities: Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock. These three cities have been growing immensely. They've been some of the fastest-growing cities in Texas. So right now, the water comes to the water treatment plant through a floating barge on Lake Travis. These barges, while effective, are much more vulnerable to drought and floods. So, this project will replace the floating barges.

We are moving towards having a permanent deep-water intake that can take water from the deepest locations of Lake Travis. This new project will be much more reliable in terms of withstanding the effects of drought on lake levels and be able to deliver increased capacity for the growing regional needs. The deep-water intake is being sized for 145 million gallons per day of water to be delivered from Lake Travis. The massive pump station will have six pumps that will be about 300 feet deep to reach down to the tunnel level. But then, they will pump to three different water treatment plants.

What you're seeing is a pump station site. And what we're drilling now is the tunnel shaft. The shaft will be 300 feet deep and 30-foot diameter. Everything that is needed to construct the tunnel is going to go down this hole: materials, tunnel boring machine, people. But when it's completed, then this will become a part of the pump station where the pumps reside. 

In addition to adding the deep-water intake for resiliency for BCRUA, we're also expanding our water treatment plant capacity. Right now, we're just over 32 million gallons per day. But ultimately, this plant is phased to be able to increase up to 106 million gallons per day. This water treatment plant was funded by the water development board. We also obtained a loan for the deep water intake. The deep-water intake itself its total costs will be about $290 million. We awarded the construction contract for the deep-water intake in June of 2022, and it's going to be a five-year project, mostly due to the length of time it's going to take to dig the tunnel.

I'm very proud of the work that's gone into this and my colleagues’ efforts. This is one of the projects that I came to BCRUA for. It's amazingly innovative, it’s going to have so much benefit, and there's so much support for it.

This article is posted in Water Planning / Financial Assistance / Technology / Water Supply .