Weatherford Democrat

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August 2, 2012

DOT will pay Willow Park for unauthorized water use

WILLOW PARK — Even the state doesn’t get a pass when it comes to enforcing water rationing in Willow Park.

A well and storage tank temporarily taken out of use as the City of Willow Park replaces an underperforming well feeding the groundwater system already historically taxed by the high demand summer months has triggered strict water rationing in the city.

But unauthorized and over use by area contractors hasn’t helped, the public works director told council members about the city’s move July 24 to stage 4 water restrictions due to low tank levels.

In addition to cutting off the supply to a contractor working on the Crown Pointe apartment project who used several times more water than the city agreed to sell, a TxDOT contractor was caught taking water from city hydrants without city authorization, according to city officials.

“We caught TxDOT thieving water from us last week, Thursday I believe,” Public Works Director Lance Petty told council members Monday. “Talked to their supervisor, can’t get a number how many times they’ve taken it from us. He’s just pretty adamant about that they take water from whoever they want to whenever they want to.”

Workers were taking water from hydrants behind Brookshire’s for a road project on F.M. 3325 in the Aledo area, according to Petty.

“I told him that that wouldn’t work any more, that Chief [of Police] Johnson would be after him,” Petty said.

Most TxDOT work occurs at night so they could have been taking water for a while now, Petty said.

“I talked to [city attorney] Rider [Scott] about it,” Mayor Richard Neverdousky said. “He called and talked to the number two person at TxDOT in Fort Worth and they were supposed to get back to him.”

“TxDOT apologizes for any misunderstanding,” TxDOT spokesman Michael Peters said Wednesday, adding they were in the process of contacting the city.

The water was used by a contractor for a two-week road repair project on F.M. 3325 in the area, according to Peters.

Peters said TxDOT would work with the city and the contractor to determine how much water was used and will pay for it.

Historically, TxDOT has had verbal agreements with Parker County entities to use water for area projects, according to Peters.

“We will make sure this does not happen again in the future,” Peters said. “An agreement will be in place.”

The city has dealt with other major water losses in recent weeks, including a main break that wasn’t found for three days and a vehicle wreck that took out a fire hydrant, costing the city about 500,000 gallons.

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