Texas Water Board Ups Assist on Carrizo Aquifer Pipeline by $112M
Feature Photo: The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s water treatment plant in San Marcos. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Austin (Travis County) — The Texas Water Development Board agreed to amend financial assistance agreements with two water supply organizations that are partners in a Carrizo Aquifer pipeline project, adding more than $112 million to prior commitments.
During their regular meeting last week, the TWDB added $65 million in multi-year financing to loans provided to the Alliance Regional Water Authority (Alliance RWA), and $47 million to Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA).
Alliance RWA is a wholesale water supplier created by the cities of San Marcos, Kyle and Buda, and the Canyon Regional Water Authority (CWRA). The proposed project would benefit three of CRWA’s customers–County Line Special Utility District, Crystal Clear Special Utility District, and Green Valley Special Utility District.
The GRBA is the wholesale water supplier to communities in 10 counties in the Guadalupe River Basin. This project would benefit three customers–the cities of New Braunfels and Lockhart, and the Goforth Special Utility District.
Two activities related to this that are in the VBX database include Project ID 2018-4CB6, Request for Qualifications for Engineering Services for Water Treatment Plant Design; and Project ID 2018-8AB9, RFQ for Booster Pump Station and Delivery Point Design.
In 2017, the TWDB agreed to a $213,410,000 multi-year finance deal with Alliance RWA for Phase 1B of its Carrizo water supply project.
The following year, Alliance RWA agreed to develop the project in conjunction with the GBRA. In concert with this partnership, the state water board approved a $165,855,000 multi-year loan with the GBRA for the first phase of their Mid-Basin Water Supply Project.
Two important advantages of this cooperation is that there would be one water treatment plant instead of two, and the two water suppliers would share pipeline from the treatment plant to the cities of San Marcos and New Braunfels.
Engineering recently reached the 30% design milestone and a result of this was a refinement of project costs. This is why the partners requested amendments to the original financing agreements.
Alliance RWA Project:
Alliance RWA will develop a Carrizo Aquifer wellfield with an initial capacity of 5,500 acre-feet per year, and an ultimate capacity of 15,000 acre-feet per year from Gonzales and Caldwell counties. Increases are estimated for engineering planning and design due to the integration of project facilities with GBRA, construction costs due to the escalation of costs for similar large-scale infrastructure projects in the region, and the addition of treatment infrastructure at the water treatment plant.
This phase of the Mid-Basin Water Supply Project includes construction of a wellfield utilizing the GBRA’s current leases, approximately 58.6 miles of transmission main, a 33.5 million-gallon per day water treatment plant in which the GBRA would need 13.4 MGD of capacity, improvements to existing Treated Water Delivery System pump station, a high service pump station and two new pump stations.
Authority estimates an additional need for planning and design costs due to the integration of project facilities with ARWA, construction costs due to the escalation of costs for similar large-scale infrastructure projects in the region, and the addition of treatment infrastructure at the water treatment plant.
The GBRA also figured in the cost of integrating its project facilities with those of Alliance RWA.
The subtotal construction budget for Alliance RWA is just over $209 million on a total project cost of $278,410,000. The subtotal construction budget for GBRA is almost $123 million on a total project cost of about $215.6 million.
Site work was to have begun July 1, 2020. However, the engineering feasibility report is not due until Oct. 1, 2020. The design phase deadlines are June 1, 2021 for Alliance RWA, and Aug. 31, 2021 for GBRA. Construction is to be completed by Dec. 31, 2023.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.