GBRA and Alliance strike a deal for the future
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) and Alliance Regional Water Authority (Alliance Water) have reached an agreement to collaboratively develop a 26.8 million gallon-per-day groundwater project in Caldwell and Gonzales counties. The partnership will save over $60 million and will have a smaller environmental footprint than the previous independent projects they were pursuing. The GBRA Board of Directors approved the project at its monthly meeting on June 20 and the Alliance Water Board of Directors finalized the deal a week later.
“This project resolves a water supply issue in the region in the interest of stakeholders and our respective organizations alike,” Alliance Water’s Executive Director Graham Moore said. “We are excited to have an excellent partner in GBRA and look forward to adding their water supply and customers into the project.”
“This agreement with Alliance Water is a major step forward for GBRA in our efforts to supply high-quality water to growing cities along the I-35 corridor,” GBRA General Manager/CEO Kevin Patteson said. “We are very appreciative of Alliance Water’s willingness to work with us to produce a win-win project that benefits thousands of water users in SouthTexas.”
GBRA and Alliance Water will each produce about 15,000 acre feet per year of permitted Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer groundwater in Caldwell and Gonzales counties, treat it to drinking water standards and then deliver it to customers in Caldwell, Hays, Guadalupe and Comal counties. GBRA’s customers include the city of Lockhart, New Braunfels Utilities and Goforth Special Utility District in Niederwald. Alliance Water is developing the water for its members: the cities of Buda, Kyle, and San Marcos, and the Canyon Regional Water Authority.
While each organization will independently develop their own well fields, Alliance Water will work with GBRA to construct a single treatment plant and transmission system. That collaboration will allow both organizations to save money throughout the life of the system. The water agencies are planning to utilize the Texas Water Development Board’s low-interest SWIFT Loan Program to finance the $236 million project, which is anticipated to be completed in 2023.
According to Alliance Water, the group chose the Carizzo-Wilcox Aquifer because it is not subject to major fluctuations during drought, is close to the area Alliance serves and has water that is of good enough quality that extensive treatment is not required. Alliance Water developed its plan for this project in 2007 and negotiated water leases with landowners over the Carizzo-Wilcox Aquifer. After the well field is constructed, a 45-mile pipeline will be constructed to bring the water into Alliance’s service area.
GBRA was established by the Texas Legislature in 1933 as a water conservation and reclamation district. GBRA provides stewardship for the water resources in its 10-county statutory district, which begins near the headwaters of the Guadalupe and Blanco rivers, ends at San Antonio Bay, and includes Kendall, Comal, Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Gonzales, DeWitt, Victoria, Calhoun, and Refugio counties. GBRA provides services that include hydroelectric generation; water and wastewater treatment; municipal, industrial, and agricultural raw water supply; and recreational operations.
Alliance Water (formerly the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency) is a regional water authority that was formed in January 2007 for the purpose of resolving the long-term water needs for its sponsors. Alliance Water is comprised of the cities of Kyle, San Marcos and Buda, along with the Canyon Regional Water Authority which represents County Line Special Utility District (SUD), Crystal Clear SUD, Martindale WSC, and Green Valley SUD.