Belhouse Drought Preparedness Project

Click to view larger image
History and Overview

During the 1950s, Texas experienced the worst drought in recorded history followed, almost immediately, by heavy rainfall and flooding. These difficult years made plain to both state and federal governments that Texas needed assistance with flood control and reliable water supply. The result was the building of numerous federally-sponsored, multi-purpose reservoirs throughout the state that would relieve the destruction of uncontrolled flooding while also having the ability to store water supply to meet the needs of the growing state’s population, guarding against the threat of future droughts. These man-made lakes were located in areas where flood control was needed most.

In the late 1990s, the State of Texas began a water planning process based on 16-regional areas, with the goal of identifying ways to meet the water supply needs of the state culminating in a State Water Plan every 5 years. As a part of the water planning process, the growth in Bell and Williamson Counties and the burgeoning population areas along the Interstate 35 (I-35) corridor were recognized as areas of concern. If growth trends continue, the area could experience water supply shortages.

Many cities and counties began working with the Brazos River Authority to ensure their water supply needs would be met well into the future. Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 (WCID#1), cities such as Temple, Belton, Round Rock, Georgetown, and other local water districts all contracted for water supplies stored in the BRA System of reservoirs including Lakes Stillhouse Hollow, Belton, Granger and Georgetown. Though much of the water supply contracted is stored relatively close to these growing areas, pipelines are required to deliver the water to specific locations. As a result, the Williamson County Regional Raw Water Line was constructed to transport some of this contracted water from its storage place in Lake Stillhouse Hollow to Lake Georgetown, some 28-miles southwest. Since that time, the pipeline has been used intermittently to move water from Stillhouse Hollow Lake to Lake Georgetown when it is needed.

The Belhouse Drought Preparedness Project, a planned water transport system linking Lake Belton to Stillhouse Hollow Lake, has been planned for years to provide access to water where it is needed. It is designed to delay the need for the development of additional new sources of water, including the building of new reservoirs, which could cost millions, if not billions of dollars, and may not be feasible.

Project Details

The Belhouse Drought Preparedness Project will provide the ability to transport water from Lake Belton to Stillhouse Hollow Lake only if the water supply is needed. The line will not run continuously, and will only move water when it is necessary to meet local and regional needs. Much of the time, natural rainfall and drainage into Lake Stillhouse Hollow will be sufficient to meet water needs without pumping from Lake Belton. The Belhouse Drought Preparedness Project will help areas served by the Central Texas Water Supply Corporation, Bell County WCID#1, the Cities of Georgetown and Round Rock, the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District, and other water suppliers at Lake Stillhouse Hollow.

No new raw water supply contracts will be entered as a result of constructing the pipeline. Rather, it will help provide water for contracts that have been in place for years as growth continues to occur.

Currently, BRA is in the process of developing facility location plans for the intake and pump station at Lake Belton, the discharge point at Stillhouse Hollow Lake, and the desired pipeline route.

Project Schedule

The overall process to build the Belhouse Drought Preparedness Project is expected to take up to 10 years, which is why the BRA is addressing the water supply problem now. The project will move through several phases, with each offering opportunities for input. Public meetings will be held to present information and hear comments and concerns from the public, homeowners’ associations, businesses, industry, cities and counties. Dates, times and information links to virtual meetings will be published on this page. Meeting announcements will also be posted in local media.

For additional project information, please contact:

Public Information Office
4600 Cobbs Drive
Waco, TX 76714
Tel: 888.922.6272
Email: Belhouse@brazos.org

If you have specific questions regarding the project following the event, contact the BRA Public Information Office at 888-922-6272 or email Belhouse@brazos.org.

Other Resources