Weatherford Democrat

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November 19, 2012

Willow Park will need water source by 2015

WILLOW PARK — By around 2015, the City of Willow Park will not be able to meet the growing demand for water without an additional water supply.

That’s the conclusion reached by an engineering firm hired by the city to create a capital improvement plan for the city’s water and wastewater system. City leaders were given a presentation on the preliminary draft Wednesday night and offered suggestions as the final draft is created.

The city needs to purchase surface water and adding any wells to the current groundwater system will only be a Band-Aid, Engineer Kerry Maroney of Biggs and Matthews told the gathered city council and planning and zoning commission.

“I’m telling you by 2015, assuming that you grow at this rate ... you are going to need an additional water supply source,” Maroney said.

With a current population of more than 4,300 people, Willow Park has about 1,734 residential water connections.

Twenty-four wells across the city currently supply water to the system.

The city’s population is expected to double over the next 20 years.

“Willow Park is not going to survive on groundwater,” Maroney said.

Assuming current wells, including three recently drilled wells that are not yet online, continue to produce at current capacity, the city would need to 30 to 40 more wells by 2040, Biggs and Matthews estimated.

That is not feasible, Maroney said.

Even if the city could purchase them, they could not put them in due to spacing requirements, Maroney said.  

Public Works Director Lance Petty said he has seen the overall level of the aquifer that the city’s wells draw from continually drop, in addition to the yearly fluctuations.

Because of that concern, the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District has well spacing requirements to prevent users from depleting the well source.

The city had to obtain exceptions to the spacing requirements earlier this year to replace three under performing wells.

Maroney’s recommendation is that the city purchase treated water, at least a million gallons per day, from Weatherford. Along with that the city should install a 12-inch pipeline east from Lake Weatherford to the city’s system and build a new pump station consisting of two 500,000 gallon storage tanks and three pumps near an existing site near East Lake Drive and Ranch House Road, according to the document.

The rough estimate of the cost to do that would be more than $4.3 million, with a buy-in fee estimated at $1 million and based on current construction costs, according to the preliminary plan.

Maroney said he contacted the City of Weatherford and was told they would be interested in discussing the idea with Willow Park, though he stressed he did not start negotiations with them during the conversations.

An alternate recommendation that appears more expensive and less viable would be to purchase water from the City of Fort Worth, Maroney told council and planning and zoning commission members.

Mayor Richard Neverdousky said his understanding is that Fort Worth is not open to negotiating at this point.

If that option is pursued, Maroney recommended running an 18-inch line from a Fort Worth storage site north across Interstate 20 and west along the highway before discharging into an existing elevated tank on the northeast side of the city.

A second priority for the city’s system is bringing water to the south part of town to deal with pressure issues, Maroney said.

He recommended the city construct a 12-inch loop distribution line to the south part of the city to provide additional supply in the lower pressure area, as well as construct four new pressure reducing valves, by 2015.

The firm recommended the city seek financing the system improvements and water purchase from Weatherford with a low interest loan from the Texas Water Development Board in the amount of approximately $6.8 million.

Additional distribution lines and an elevated tank were recommended sometime between 2015 and 2030, as well.

Regarding the wastewater system, three existing lift stations should be upgraded between 2012 and 2015, the preliminary plan states.

With a plan in place, Maroney suggested the city look at charging a capital recovery fee to developers to help pay for the improvements to the system.

The document presented to council members Wednesday was a preliminary plan rather than a finalized or completed plan.

Council and planning and zoning commission members questioned some of the underlying data and assumptions, such as whether ongoing development had been taking into account, and Maroney requested they send him any suggestions as he prepares the final draft.

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