LCRA will pay for a new water treatment plant to provide a long-term, reliable source of water to customers in the Spicewood Beach Water System who have been under Stage 4 emergency drought restrictions for almost a year.
The LCRA Board of Directors unanimously approved the $1.2 million project at its Jan. 16 meeting in Austin.
The Spicewood Beach Surface Water Treatment Plant Project is expected to be complete by the summer of 2013. The project will include a new raw water intake, a 475,000-gallon-per-day surface water treatment plant, and the piping necessary to tie the new water plant into the existing water distribution system. It will draw water from Lake Travis instead of the insufficient groundwater wells now used by the system.
Corix Utilities (Texas) Inc. will design and build the project under contract to LCRA. Corix has agreed, subject to regulatory approval, to purchase the Spicewood Beach utility system and 17 other water and wastewater systems from LCRA. Corix and LCRA also are discussing improvements to and the possible purchase of two additional systems, the Tow Village and Bonanza Beach systems.
“This is the best solution to a difficult situation,” LCRA General Manager Becky Motal said. “We know the last year under Stage 4 restrictions has been a challenging time for residents, and we appreciate all their help in conserving water as we work toward the new treatment plant.”
When the new plant becomes operational, the Spicewood Beach system will move out of Stage 4 emergency drought restrictions, which ban all outdoor watering and encourage customers to cut out all but essential water use.
LCRA moved the system to Stage 4 in January 2012, when the wells serving the Spicewood Beach area began to falter because of falling lake levels. LCRA began trucking water to the system in January 2012 to prevent it from running dry and to ensure all customers had water for their essential needs. LCRA continues to truck in water to the system daily, at a cost of roughly $35,000 to $37,000 a month. LCRA has absorbed the costs of the trucking operation and has not passed those costs on to customers.
LCRA will pay for the new water project, which has been jointly evaluated by LCRA and Corix. The final sale price of the Spicewood Beach system will be adjusted by the money spent building the treatment plant. Corix, together with Burnet County, has been working over the past six months to identify grant funding options to help reduce the net cost of the new water treatment plant. The sale is expected to close by the end of the year.
The water system serves about 500 meters in the communities of Spicewood Beach, Lakeside Beach, Lake Oaks and Eagle Bluff in Burnet County. It also serves the Spicewood Elementary School in the Marble Falls Independent School District.