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New water supply coming soon for high-growth Central Texas communities Posted on September 03, 2021


Transcript

Jane Hughson, San Marcos Mayor

Playing catch-up isn't going to work with water. You know, you can always go out and pave some roads, but with water, you've got to find the sources. Water is the new oil in Texas, and water is not plentiful. It is a renewable resource. It is not an unlimited resource. 

Graham Moore, Alliance Regional Water Authority Executive Director

Today, we're in Rosanky, Texas, at an about 560-acre property that Alliance Regional Water Authority owns. This is the groundbreaking for our water treatment plant project. This is really the heart of what we need in order to bring on this new water supply for our customers.

We span a large area, generally from the south side of Austin to the north side of San Antonio. So, from Buda in the north, all the way down to the Gruene Valley in the south near the Cibolo area. It is a large swath in, really, a fast-growing part of the state. 

Our water supply is Carrizo groundwater. So, we have to produce wells that retrieve the water out of the ground, bring it up, treat it here at the property that we're at today. And then we will pump that water to our different delivery points to our customers in the I-35 region.

Jane Hughson, San Marcos Mayor

This is huge because San Marcos is one of the fastest-growing cities. And one of the things you need to grow is clean water. We need water for people; we need water for industry. We're managing our growth as best we can but having the water source is going to be critical to our success.

Graham Moore, Alliance Regional Water Authority Executive Director

The need for this water supply source is purely driven by the growth in the corridor between Austin and San Antonio. We recently received census data that's shown in the past 10 years just what growth has occurred. We expect that same type of growth to continue to occur for the next several decades. And so, the water supply source and the treatment we're doing here today will serve that future growth. 

For this project, we are partnered with the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority or GBRA. We have a unique partnership where we're sharing in the capacity of the treatment facility and many of the transmission lines. In total, the project is about $400 million in cost. Alliance's share is $240 million dollars of that. We are 100 percent financed through the Texas Water Development Board and the SWIFT program.

Kristin Miller, Texas Water Development Board Environmental Reviewer

By working with the Texas Water Development Board, entities like Alliance Regional Water Authority are able to provide infrastructure that will provide a long-term source of drinking water to high-growth areas in the community. And will serve the community over the life of the facility.

Without this project, the member utilities will not be able to meet water needs by 2033 with the current water sources. According to the State Water Plan, the proposed project is anticipated to meet future regional needs through 2060.

Graham Moore, Alliance Regional Water Authority Executive Director

We're very excited to have the groundbreaking here today. It'll be about two years until the treatment plant is completed and our infrastructure network is in place to where we deliver water. So, summer of 2023 we expect to be delivering water to our customers.

Jane Hughson, San Marcos Mayor

We have to make sure that we've got water from sources that are sustainable, and that's what has been found. The groundbreaking today is so exciting, and it's one of the next phases of this project that's going to be important to so many in our region.

Soundbites

San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson on the importance of planning for water supply

Jane Hughson - San Marcos Mayor

"Playing catch-up isn't going to work with water. You know, you can always go out and pave some roads, but with water, you've got to find the sources. Water is the new oil in Texas, and water is not plentiful. It is a renewable resource. It is not an unlimited resource."

San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson on San Marcos growth

Jane Hughson - San Marcos Mayor

"This is huge because San Marcos is one of the fastest-growing cities. And one of the things you need to grow is clean water for your people. We need water for people; we need water for industry. But it's really important for the growth that San Marcos is looking at. We're managing our growth as best we can but having the water source is going to be critical to our success."

Graham Moore on financing water projects through the TWDB's SWIFT fund

Graham Moore - Alliance Regional Water Authority Executive Director

"We started tracking SWIFT when the legislature first started considering it because we knew it was going to be a game-changer for how we financed our projects. We were one of the first entities to take advantage in 2015 of SWIFT. We've been able to do so multiple times to help fund this project. Being able to borrow at the State's credit and then getting reduced rates on top of that has made this project much more affordable for our entities than it otherwise would have been trying to get this on the private market."

Graham Moore on the importance of planning for water needs

Graham Moore - Alliance Regional Water Authority Executive Director

"A big part of Alliance's goals have been to plan for the future and to plan the right way. The water that we're producing today is really going to be consumed by people in the latter half of the 2020 decade. And we're planning for future expansions and more water to come through this corridor in this area. And so, we're trying to take that into account today so that it's easier to make those future projects occur."

This article is posted in Water Planning / Financial Assistance .