Saturday, August 12, 2017

Water Board Gets Partially Consulted

San Angelo's Water Advisory Board heard a consultant's presentation on the Water Utility Master Plan (at a maximum cost of just under $315,000) before considering the hiring of another consultant for a Water Supply Engineering Feasibility Study (at a maximum cost of just under $575,000).  During the second presentation Water Chief Bill Riley showed a slide titled "Current Water Supplies."

The city's current surface water supplies are ample.
Lake Nasworthy - 8,069 acre feet
O.C. Fisher - 15,164 acre feet
O.H. Ivie - 120,056 acre feet
Twin Buttes - 22,070 acre feet
E.V. Spence - 72,508 acre feet
                      (source: Water Data for Texas)
Those sources currently hold 237,000 acre feet.  Mr. Riley's slide showing a mere 13,820 acre feet would be way off on any truth meter.  His slide would be better titled "Estimated Safe Yield" for water planning purposes.  The Water Advisory Board needs to plan for lots of non-rainy days.   It has a super conservative number to use going forward.

Board member Kendall Hirschfeld recalls our serious water predicament as a City Council member.  He understands the need for finding more water sources for our community, as does the state of Texas.

The 2017 Texas State Water Plan has the following projects listed for San Angelo:

Direct and/or indirect reuse for municipal use - $150,000,000  (year 2020)
Hickory Wellfield expansion in McCulloch County - $27,104,000  (year 2020)
West Texas Water Partnership - $39,175,200  (year 2030)
Desalination of other aquifer supplies in Tom Green County - $57,967,000 (year 2050)
Hirschfeld expressed his concerns about Water Board members being out of the information loop on critical development projects.  Our water board cannot hear updates on the West Texas Water Partnership and its possible $40 million price tag.  Updates on the Hickory Wellfied expansion are not allowed as the city may be suing Alsay and Carollo Engineering for their work on six additional Hickory wells which should have been completed in 2016.   It's hard for a board to do its work with incomplete information.

Planning not to run out of water is hard work and expensive.  It must also be irritating for citizens volunteering their time and expertise to be out of the loop on major projects, regardless of how good the reasons.

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