Lubbock success story: Lake Alan Henry 2013
The City of Lubbock once relied on the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority (CRMWA) for more than 70 percent of its water supply. When supplies started to diminish, the CRMWA decreased the amount of water its members could get. In 2007, Lubbock took action and later completed a State Water Plan-recommended project to supplement its water supply—tapping into Lake Alan Henry.
The size and scope of this project would be our largest ever, so we were concerned about how to finance it and to keep costs down," reports Aubrey Spear, Lubbock's Director of Water Resources. Spear says the city was looking for a program that had less red tape and a way to take advantage of better interest rates.
"The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) had just introduced the Water Infrastructure Fund, which was a streamlined program that allowed us to save $15 million in interest rates," he says. "At that time, it was the best funding option for a community our size."
Using Lake Alan Henry entailed creating more than 60 miles of raw water lines, pumping stations, a treatment plant and 13 miles of treated water lines to transport water to Lubbock. The city used more than $83 million in financing from TWDB.
In addition to its 230,000 residents, Lubbock also serves smaller communities like Ransom Canyon, Buffalo Springs and Shallowater. The water in the lake is also used for residential needs, small businesses, Reese Technology Center, Texas Tech University and industries related to cotton growing.
Spear adds that any incoming industries are encouraged to use air-cooled rather than water-cooled systems to help conservation efforts.
"Lake Alan Henry represents about 40 percent of our water supply. Over the long term, it should help us with sustainable growth over the next 100 years," he says.