Another option emerges in Buda water supply pursuit

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Keeping its future water supply options open, Buda City Council on Sept. 15 listened to an area water authority’s plan to supply water to high-growth communities in the region.

The city of Buda has stated it needs an interim water supply until the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency’s project to deliver water from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer to I-35 corridor communities comes online in 2023. In January the city negotiated a contract with Electro Purification to bring 1 million gallons of water a day to Buda from the Middle Trinity Aquifer, a project that was met with opposition in the Wimberley Valley and inspired legislation that brought the previously unregulated area under regulatory control.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s $400 million project would entail the use of surface water and groundwater from the Gonzales County area and supply it to entities between I-35 and SH 130 in Central Texas.

“It’s just another in a long line of projects that could potentially meet our future need,” Mayor Todd Ruge said. “We have always explored every option even when there were no options to explore. Now there are eight or nine different options we are looking at.”

Ruge said that a city committee is ranking water and wastewater projects the city can pursue. The GBRA’s Mid-Basin project will be added to that list, he said.

As for the city’s business with Electro Purification, Ruge said Buda remains under contract with the Houston-based water supplier.

“We are under contract with them for them to deliver a million gallons and prove up 1.25 million gallons,” Ruge said. “According to the contract, they have until Oct. 20 to prove that they can deliver the quantity and the quality.”

The Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency also involves the cities of San Marcos and Kyle, along with other entities.

GBRA General Manager Bill West said his hope is that HCPUA, GBRA and Texas Water Alliance water supply projects could merge and, thus, find cost savings for their customers.

“There have been numerous conversations about combining those three projects into one,” West said. “I personally think that’s the logical thing to do. … I personally think we will eventually get there.”

City Council Member Angela Kennedy said she is concerned about customer overlap and whether recipients of water from the three projects need water from all three sellers. But she said combining the projects is a “really interesting concept.”

Kennedy said GBRA’s proposal to use surface water, groundwater and potentially recycled water conjunctively is innovative.

“You keep pursuing every single option until the ones that are really the most viable float to the surface,” she said. “That’s what we are continuing to do.”

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JJ Velasquez
The Central Austin editor since 2016, JJ covers city government and other topics of community interest—when he's not editing the work of his prolific writers. He began his tenure at Community Impact Newspaper as the reporter for its San Marcos | Buda | Kyle edition covering local government and public education. The Laredo, Texas native is also a web developer whose mission is to make the internet a friendly place for finding objective and engaging news content.
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