Cities approve next step in water facility expansion project

A project to increase the capacity of water from Lake Travis to Cedar Park, Leander and Round Rock will move into the next stage of expansion after approval by local city councils.

Cedar Park City Council met Thursday and authorized the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority to move forward on an agreement with Austin-based Walker Partners LLC, one of the two companies from which the authority received a proposal. Round Rock and Leander officials also have approved the agreement.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.09.18 AM A map of the water facility expansion plan from the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority.[/caption]

The three municipalities first met in 2005 to plan a three-phase regional water system that would deliver water to the cities for the next 50 years, and in 2007 the three cities formed the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority. Most of Phase 1 of the water system has been completed and continued expansion and plans for deep-water intake facilities are expected to help address increasing demand for water, according to a plan outline on the authority’s website.

The contract with Walker Partners has two portions—design of Phase 1C of the expansion project, which expands the treatment plant and raw water pump station, as well as a start on Phase 2, which will allow for deep-water intake.

The contract is for $3.78 million. Cedar Park’s portion totals about $1.05 million, and Leander's totals $1.7 million. Sam Roberts, Cedar Park assistant city manager, said funding will come from savings from an earlier phase of the project.

The expansion of the regional treatment plant will increase capacity from 17 to 30 million gallons of water per day.

“This will be the last expansion of that floating intake pump station,” Roberts said. “Hopefully the deep-water intake station taking place in a few years.”

The utility authority is starting the easement acquisition process for tunnels and pipelines for the deep-water project. Roberts said that phase will increase capacity from 4.5 to 8 million gallons per day.

City leaders also have approved a funding application for about $17 million to be sent to the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas within the Texas Water Development Board. The funding, if approved, will be put toward the expansion phase, not deep-water intake, Roberts said.

He said the program is attractive because it offers low-interest loans and the proposal for funding from the three cities was met with positive feedback by the board.

“It’s been a goal of ours for a while to be able to take advantage of SWIFT, so congratulations on getting this application,” Mayor Matt Powell said to Roberts.

If the cities receive SWIFT funding, Cedar Park’s portion would be $4.43 million, Leander’s is $8.13 and Round Rock’s is $4.43 million.

Council Member Cobby Caputo abstained from the vote, as his law firm has recently been hired to serve as bond council to the Brushy Creek utility authority.

For more information about the project, visit www.bcrua.org.
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