Round Rock advances regional deep water intake pipeline using eminent domain

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Plans to pipe water from Lake Travis to the cities of Round Rock, Cedar Park and Leander advanced March 28.

Round Rock City Council voted 7-0 to use the power of eminent domain to acquire two properties under which it will build the pipeline. Eminent domain allows a government to take private property for public use with payment.

The action tonight advances plans for a regional water facility at Lake Travis. The Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority, a regional water system, signed agreements with Round Rock, Cedar Park and Leander city councils for the facility in 2017. While Round Rock at this time does not get any water from Lake Travis, it is a partner in the endeavor with plans to draw water in the future.

One of the properties that will be acquired through eminent domain is approximately 0.524 acres. The city offered $6,550 to the property owner, who was unresponsive to the offer, Round Rock Utilities Director Michael Thane told Community Impact Newspaper. The second property is about 0.414 acres. The property owner rejected the city’s $5,765 offer, Thane said.

The pipeline, which will have a diameter of 8 feet and a length of nearly 9,000 feet—will extend underneath the village of Volente. Volente is a town in Travis County with a population of 520 as of the 2010 census.

The depth of the pipeline—a 120-inch tunnel in diameter—will vary from 200 to 400 feet, depending on topography, Thane said.

“We will be so deep … that the property owners can still use the surface of their property,” Thane said in a presentation to City Council on March 26. “The only thing they can’t do is drill down into the land for a well.”

Council Member Tammy Young asked for studies to illustrate whether the tunneling could negatively impact a property owner’s land.

“That’s been a big concern [for the property owners],” Thane said. “That’s part of what they’re asking, ‘Can you guarantee that my house is not going to crack in 10 years?’”

Thane referenced geotechnical studies that indicate the surface of the property will not be harmed. At Young’s request, he said he would make those studies available to council members.

“We’re going to take every precaution,” Thane said.

The city of Round Rock anticipates up to seven more acquisitions by eminent domain for this project, Thane told Community Impact Newspaper.

The deep water intake pipeline is in the design phase. Construction is still a few years out, Thane said.

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Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Jackson Buchanan is the editor for the Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from The University of Texas.
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