Project reserves water from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer for future water service agreement
To address the long-term demands of population growth and secure additional raw-water supply, City Council on Aug. 9, 2023, entered an $11.8 million, two-year reservation agreement with EPCOR to reserve water from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Robertson County while the parties negotiate a public-private partnership and a Water Supply Agreement. The partnership contemplates Georgetown receiving about 32 million to 55 million gallons per day of treated groundwater (39,399-70,000-acre feet), with initial delivery by 2030.
The reservation agreement will cost $5.9 million each year, for a total of $11.8 million. Costs will be shared by developer water service agreements as well as customers through rates. Water fund balances will pay for costs in the initial months while the City’s rate model is updated. Customers can expect to see costs reflected in rates as early as January 2024.
The pending Water Service Agreement will outline the details of delivering water to the City, including water leases and construction of the waterline. The City would pay for the water delivery, regardless of whether the City uses it. The City also will be meeting with regional partners to determine their water needs and possible interest in cooperation on the project.
“Having enough water to meet our demands is becoming increasingly challenging and important as Georgetown and our service area continue to grow exponentially,” Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “EPCOR’s strong track record and the many, professional consultants we have retained for this proposal only add to our confidence that this is the right decision for Georgetown’s future.”
The City’s Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP) identifies new water supply options and ensures long-term reliability under uncertain water resources and demand growth. The IWRP, which was presented to council in December 2022, projects the City adding an average of 6,700 new water connections each year from 2024 through 2042 – nearly three times the projected 2,500 new connections from the 2018 master plan. As such, the IWRP estimates the City will need to bring on new, raw-water supply by 2030 in order to keep up with demand.
“We are doing our best to plan for the future to meet everybody’s needs,” City Manager David Morgan said. “Securing additional, diverse, raw-water supplies is important for Georgetown’s future. This will set Georgetown up to meet our continually increasing demands for water in our large service area.”
The City will be negotiating with EPCOR during the next two years to develop the project and financing plans, as well as an operations and maintenance agreement. The reservation agreement provides EPCOR and the City the option for the City to secure up to an additional 30,601-acre feet if EPCOR secures additional contract rights. This would provide for a total of 70,000-acre feet.
EPCOR builds, owns, operates, and manages water, wastewater, power, and natural gas utilities across North America. In Central Texas, the company has experience building and operating several, large-scale water-delivery projects, including the 142-mile-long Vista Ridge Project and the 130 Pipeline. EPCOR is currently constructing the water-supply infrastructure and water-reclamation facilities to support the semiconductor fabrication plant in Taylor.