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The City of Buda is concerned about all citizens of Hays County; therefore the City was very empathetic to citizens of western Hays County in reluctantly reaching a water agreement on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 with Electro Purification (EP). In realizing Buda’s water may run short in 2017, the City Council was placed in an unenviable position of securing a plausible water source while considering the effects to our neighbors in the county. To be clear, this is an EP project, not a City of Buda project. The City is due to receive only one fifth (1/5) of the total water being used.
The City secured the needed water, but is still in negotiations with EP. The final agreement will only be reached with the condition that a water mitigation plan be put in place to support the long term well being of wells in the area. Other agreements already in place provided no safeguards to property owners in the area; with Buda signing a contract with Electro Purification, well owners in the area will have the safeguard of evaluations of sub pumping conditions and if related to the EP project, their wells being mitigated to maintain adequate well flows.
The Buda City Council approved in a 6 -1 vote to enter into an agreement with EP for 1 million gallons per day (MGD) of drinking water. Prior to and at the meeting, the City Council demonstrated their sense of community by listening to the concerns of residents from Hays County regarding water use from the surrounding aquifers. The City of Buda and its officials share in the same concerns expressed and for those reasons chose to also include the mitigation plan in the contract with EP. This plan will provide assistance to existing private wells that may be impacted by the EP well field.
The City of Buda performed its due diligence prior to making the decision to enter into an agreement with Electro Purification. In 2011, EP approached the City of Buda to ask the City to consider their company as an option for an additional water source. After initial discussions, the City worked diligently and intelligently in procuring the services of Lockwood, Andrews and Newman, Inc. (LAN), an engineering firm, for an independent analysis of Electro Purification, Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency and existing water supplies. LAN was also used in qualifying and quantifying EP’s data, viability, sustainability and impacts to the region. Through LAN, a hydro geologist was enlisted to not only further assess EP’s well data, but also evaluate short term impacts to existing private wells surrounding EP’s well field and the long term effects to springs and the Cow Creek Aquifer. In addition, a blending study was performed to assess the taste and smell of introducing such water into the existing supply, a rate assessment on short and long term impacts to residents was conducted, and expert legal assistance was used in providing assurances and safe guards to a long term contract with EP.
As reflected in the 2010 Comprehensive Plan Citizen Survey, maintaining water service was voted one of the highest priorities of City issues. City Council, along with city staff, has never lost sight of this priority and took action in securing such water supplies for existing and future residents.
With exponential growth occurring and an approximate of 80 people moving to Buda monthly, Buda has been working diligently to shore up its future water supplies to 2060. The projected demand will exceed its current water supply by 2017. Buda is a member of the HCPUA with most of its short term and long term water supply coming from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer at 2.6MGD. With an additional supply of 1MGD, Buda has provided a safety factor in its total water supply for short and long term for its citizens while providing assurances to property owners on the western side of the county of their wells not being affected because of this project.