April 6, 2015
A Possible Interim Water Supply for Buda
Seeking additional treated water to supply projected growth, the City of Buda contracted with Electro Purification (EP) for one million gallons per day of treated water beginning in 2016. EP proposed to pump the water from a Trinity Aquifer well field along FM 3237, just outside the boundaries of any groundwater conservation district that could set reasonable pumping limits. EP proposed to deliver 500,000 gallons a day to Buda in 2017, 1,000,000 gallons a day by 2021 and continuing to 2050. This is in addition to 4.2 million gallons a day EP plans to pump from the Trinity well field to Anthem Community and Goforth Water Supply for future developments.
In 2023 the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency plans to have a pipeline extended to a delivery point in Kyle from its well field in Gonzales County. At that time there would be sufficient water to supply growth needs along the IH 35 corridor without groundwater from EP.
EP planned this Trinity Aquifer operation for over four years, yet no contact or consultation was made with local groundwater districts or county officials. The EP proposal started a firestorm of criticism and concern because it would increase local groundwater pumping up to ten-fold, threatening more than 1,500 groundwater-supplied properties, and the prosperity of the entire area.
In February, 2015, Hays County Commissioners invited all area elected officials and water district officials to a meeting and asked them to come up with alternative water supplies that could serve the area’s needs without depleting the Trinity Aquifer.
As a result, alternatives are beginning to surface. For example, the City of San Marcos operates a 21 million gallon per day (mgd) water treatment plant that uses raw water supplied by the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA). San Marcos first supplies its own needs, and then sells the remaining treated water, approximately 11.8 mgd, to Kyle, Buda, and several other small utility companies. This 11.8 mgd supply is fully contracted, but not fully used by the other parties. See the map below of the GBRA/San Marcos water supply system.
Analysis shows that a 1,000,000-gallon-per-day supply can be diverted to Buda between 2017 and 2023. This diversion would meet the interim needs of Buda and eliminate its need to use the EP groundwater. Costs would have to be worked out among the contracting parties.
CARD believes this and other alternatives should be explored to help Buda get water. However, regardless of those results, EP should not be allowed to drain the wells of hundreds of Western Hays County private property owners, and damage the property values of people already living here to enrich those building future developments.