The Parker County Special Utility District requested a contract extension with the city of Mineral Wells this week to receive funding for future infrastructure improvements.
The Parker County SUD supplies drinking water to residents and businesses in the rural areas of Brock, Dennis, Greenwood and an area near Millsap and Bennett in Parker and Palo Pinto counties.
“In the 18 years I’ve worked here, we have grown and it went from an old farming community to a growing subdivision housing area and as such, it was made abundantly clear to us that our water supply was lacking,” Parker County SUD General Manager Dakota Tawater said to the city council on Tuesday. “The Brock school district was about to spend $700,000 in fire suppression equipment because we lacked the pressure and the quality to support the school.”
Tawater said the SUD worked with its engineering firm to come up with a project to improve its infrastructure, which would be pricey.
“Whenever we tried to get funding through the [Texas] Water Development Board they told us because our contract with [Mineral Wells] expires in 2029 and the project wouldn’t complete its funding until 2053 — depending on when we were approved for the funding — we would need to extend our contract with you,” he said. “We’re kind of at your mercy because we don’t have a whole lot to offer.”
Ward 4 Councilmember Doyle Light said he understands Tawater’s concerns since the city is in the middle of major projects that require funding from multiple sources, including the TWDB.
“When I first saw this request it kind of threw me, but thankfully I’ve had a few days to mull the idea over and the Parker County SUD — prior to that the Parker County Municipal Water District — has had a really great partnership with us for a number of years,” Light said. “The contract you’re wanting to extend was originally a 40-year contract and we’re 31 years into it, so we have some history.”
Light added that he sees no problem in extending the contract with the SUD.
Tawater said he’s had discussions with MW City Manager Randy Criswell about the water situation.
“We’ve been discussing where this state, in general, is going with water and it’s starting to get very scary,” he said. “Our back is up against the wall and we have one groundwater system that only serves about 180 customers and we have more and more people moving out here.”
Criswell said he would suggest the city draft a new contract instead of continually renewing the old one, which was unanimously approved by the council.