San Angelo success story: Hickory Aquifer development February 2013
Treatment to reduce radium, construction of more than 60 miles of pipeline and a new water supply predicted to produce 10 million gallons per day of groundwater - that's the formula the city of San Angelo plans to use for its future stable water supply. And it's facilitated through $120 million in financial assistance from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and the state's regional water planning process.
"In 2000, we started looking at developing additional water supply, brainstorming every solution imaginable, including brackish desalination," says Kevin Krueger, Interim Assistant Director of Water Utilities. The city drilled and located brackish groundwater but determined there weren't substantial quantities available.
"The city traditionally relied on surface water for its water supply. But with drought conditions worsening, water shortfalls were almost inevitable," reports Carollo Engineers Vice President Hutch Musallam.
San Angelo decided to pursue developing the Hickory Aquifer as a source of water, and the project is currently under construction.
"In 2011, lake levels were down. That's when we applied for and received TWDB funds - and they couldn't have come at a better time," states Krueger.
"Hickory Aquifer, located in nearby McCulloch County where the city has water rights, represents a viable and consistent source of water," Musallam says. The TWDB-implemented low-interest loan, made available to San Angelo through the state's Water Infrastructure Fund (WIF), will make this a more affordable project, he adds. A project must be a recommended strategy in the State Water Plan to qualify for funding through WIF.
Once construction is complete, San Angelo's Hickory Aquifer project will benefit about 93,000 customers. In the future, this supplemental source of water could potentially attract industries and residents to the area.
"If we continue to have the Hickory Aquifer available, companies and people will want to invest in our community," Krueger says. "We'll offer a more stable business environment and better project ourselves as a community that can sustain and grow its economy."