Somervell County success story: Wheeler Branch Off-Channel Reservoir 2013

Somervell County success story: Wheeler Branch Off-Channel Reservoir

When construction of the Southwest Parkway (connecting Fort Worth to Johnson County) is complete, the commute to the metroplex will become easier.  And that means communities like Glen Rose will likely experience an increase in population.

Now that the Wheeler Branch Off Channel Reservoir has been completed, "we're getting ahead of that expected growth," says Somervell County Water District (SCWD) General Manager Kevin Taylor.

Before the reservoir was built, Somervell County relied on groundwater for 100 percent of its water needs.  "The groundwater table was dropping an average of four feet per year and wells were drying up.  We knew we were going to have a problem," Taylor says.

SCWD provides 100 percent of the residential water for the City of Glen Rose and 100 percent of the potable water for offices at Luminant's Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant.

SCWD, created in 1987, raised money for dam construction, but relied on Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) funding for the rest of the project—more than $32 million in grants and low interest loans.  "We used TWDB funds to build the treatment plant, distribution system (about 60 miles of pipeline), elevated storage tower, pump station and ground storage.

Today SCWD provides water for 70 retail customers and 3,000 residents of Glen Rose.

"The funding means everything—a dependable supply of water and better quality water.  We couldn't count on our groundwater supply," Taylor relates.  "Our county is growing, and now we can grow with it."