The Brazos River Authority Board of Directors made a move to purchase land adjacent to the East Williamson County Regional Water System as it prepares for expansion.
The Board on Monday, at its regular bimonthly meeting, authorized the General Manager/CEO to move forward with purchasing about 28 acres for more than $1.8 million. The move is among a series of projects to ensure the booming population in this area has the water they need when they turn on the faucet.
The BRA owns and operates the East Williamson County Regional Water System, which provides treated water to the city of Taylor, the Jonah Water Special Utility District, and the Lone Star Regional Water Authority. These entities provide water to customers in eastern Williamson County and a small portion of southern Bell County.
The BRA purchased the plant from the city of Taylor in 2004 and, in 2009, expanded it from 5.3 million gallons per day to about 13 million gallons per day to meet the area's growing needs. This recent series of expansion projects is expected to be completed in 2027 and will bring the EWCRWS treated water delivery capability to about 27.8 million gallons per day. And the BRA is already forecasting the need to expand the plant further in the next 20 years to up to 40 million gallons per day, said Brad Brunett, BRA's lower/central basin regional manager.
Also at the meeting, the Board of Directors elected its upcoming officers.
The Board re-elected Rick Huber of Granbury to serve as Assistant Presiding Officer and elected Wesley Lloyd of Waco as Board Secretary. The Brazos River Authority's governing board consists of 21 members appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by the Texas Senate. Directors serve a six-year staggered term, with one-third being replaced each odd-numbered year.
Huber is a retired American Airlines captain and a retired United States Air Force pilot. Lloyd is an attorney with Freeman Mills PC.
Each will serve for two years or until a successor is selected.
The Board also resolved that due to continued drought conditions, exceptionally low reservoir inflows, the Stage 4 Pro Rata Curtailment declaration for Lake Proctor and the potential for the initiation of Stage 3 Drought Emergency declarations in 2024, no Interruptible Water will be authorized for contract in the calendar year 2024 at this time. The Board also resolved that, if drought conditions improve and inflows significantly increase reservoir storage within the BRA water supply system, the authorization of Interruptible Water may be reconsidered.
Interruptible Water is water supply not used in the previous year that remains in storage, said BRA Water Services Manager Aaron Abel. Interruptible Water contracts are one-year agreements issued annually when water is available. The Board determines at the end of each year the amount, if any, of Interruptible Water available for contract the following calendar year.
"The trend is our friend right now," Abel said. "We're seeing some rain. But we need some more before we're comfortable offering interruptible water."
The BRA received 46 requests for interruptible water in 2024, totaling more than 31,700-acre feet of water. Interruptible water also wasn't sold in 2023 due to the drought.
"Hopefully, we'll see additional rainfall over the winter and the spring," Abel said.
As Texas continues to grow and there's more industries and more people, it is going to be more difficult to rebound from drought conditions, said GM/CEO David Collinsworth. There's going to be some point in time in the future when Interruptible Water will have to go away, he said.
During the meeting, the Board also authorized the GM/CEO to negotiate and execute a five-year contract for professional auditing services with Baker Tilly US, LLP. The independent accounting firm is in the final year of a five-year contract with the BRA for auditing services. Baker Tilly provides audit services for three financial areas of the BRA: audit of the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report; single audit report, as a result of the BRA's grant funding from both state and federal agencies; and audit of the retirement plan for BRA employees.
Mark your calendars because the Board set the 2024 schedule of meetings. In 2024, the Board will meet on Jan. 29, March 25, May 20, July 29, Sept. 30, and Nov. 18.
Due to the holidays, a Brown Bag on the Brazos will not be held following this Board meeting.
For a complete list of Board actions from the meeting, go here. Or watch the full board meeting here. Sign up to receive email Board meeting notices here.
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