Two area agencies will receive a total of $19 million in grant money for water-related projects in Williamson County. These projects will bring water into the county from outside pipelines and improve water facilities. Both grants will be funded through reimbursement from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Williamson County Commissioners Court approved the grants at the Sep. 20 Commissioners Court meeting; $5 million went to Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority, and $14 million went to the cities of Round Rock and Georgetown.

According to the agreement, Williamson County will reimburse Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority for the underwater pipeline replacement project from the county’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. It will also pay for expenses related to clean water supply and sewer to the cities of Cedar Park, Leander and Round Rock.

“I want us to be clear though, what we're proposing today as a Commissioners Court is not affixed to the immediate problem that is currently going on in Cedar Park and Leander. This is a long-term solution,” County Judge Bill Gravell said.

The BCRUA is a partnership among Round Rock, Cedar Park and Leander for water supply. They were also planning to build a new pipeline to address leaks that have been happening over time.

The BCRUA is also in the process of building a deep-water intake into Lake Travis so the water treatment plant is less susceptible to water fluctuations, BCRUA General Manager Karen Bondy said.

“What your grant does for us today is it is funding that replacement pipeline that will allow for less water vulnerability for these three cities,” Bondy said.

Construction for the pipeline will start early 2023 and is expected to complete by Jan. 2024.

The commissioners also approved $14 million for the City of Round Rock for the Williamson County Regional Water Supply project. The approval for the grant money came in May.

Round Rock and Georgetown are working together on a common project along Chandler Road starting at FM 1660 and going west to Hwy. 130 to bring in Carrizo-Wilcox water as an alternative water solution to residents from the east into Williamson County. The Brazos River Authority is also working on the project.

“This is really not just about Round Rock in Georgetown, this project is going to help the entire county,” said Michael Thane, the director of the Round Rock Utilities Department .

The long-term project is expected to take eight to 10 years, he said.

The money will also fund the Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment plant in Round Rock, which was damaged by a tornado in March, Thane said. The plant that was under construction for expansion serves four cities of Cedar Park, Leander, North Austin and Round Rock.

“The wastewater plant serves a whole lot more than just the city; it serves the region,” Gravell said.