City IDs, pursues next water supply
The City of San Angelo has identified the leading option for its next water supply and taken the first step toward its development.
The Concho River Water Project is a move to extend San Angelo’s sources beyond its lakes and the Hickory Aquifer. It will do so by adding a reliable and sustainable source that will help meet water needs for decades to come.
The project involves releasing highly treated water from the City’s wastewater treatment plant into the Concho River. After it has flowed down that “natural pipeline,” the water will be recouped farther downstream. From there, it will be piped to the water treatment plant, where it will be treated to drinking standards.
“This is water San Angelo already has,” said attorney Jason Hill, the City’s special counsel for water. “We’re just able to make better use of it. It’s a win-win for the community.”
On Sept. 18, the City Council unanimously agreed to pursue state permits that will ensure the water is treated to adequately high standards before its release into the river.
Prior to recommending the Concho River project, engineers and City staff studied 24 possible water supplies. Those included surface water, groundwater and direct reuse. The experts and City officials concluded the Concho River Water Project is a reliable and cost-effective source, will produce water with an improved taste, can be developed relatively quickly, and utilizes proven science. Cities have long released their treated wastewater downstream into streams, rivers and lakes. Treated wastewater from Ballinger, Robert Lee and Winters, for instance, flows into San Angelo’s primary water source, Ivie Reservoir.
“We are releasing it into the Concho so we have what we call an environmental buffer,” said Scott Hibbs, principal water resource engineer with eHT, an Abilene engineering firm. “So we’re letting Mother Nature take care of some of the treatment aspects.”
Securing state permits could take as little as two to three years. Completing the entire project could take about five years and will cost about $120 million dollars. That includes upgrades to the water and wastewater treatment plants. Those improvements would be needed regardless of which new water source was chosen.
When completed, the Concho River Water Project will produce about 7.5 million gallons per day. By comparison, the Hickory Aquifer is currently capable of producing 8 million gallons per day, although that is being expanded to 12 million gallons. San Angelo averages about 12 million gallons of daily usage.
Work continues by the West Texas Water Partnership to develop a long-term source that can serve San Angelo, Abilene and Midland. The Concho River Water Project will help meet local water demands for about the next 50 years.
“This takes San Angelo a long ways down the road of water security,” Hill said. “And when I say a long ways, I’m talking generationally … 2060, 2070.”
The project will also diversify San Angelo’s portfolio of water sources. Because the City will not be dependent upon any one source of water, San Angelo will be better able to weather times of drought.
The Water Conservation division educates the public on how it can make the most efficient use of San Angelo's public water supply in an effort to conserve and preserve the community's most precious natural resource.
Current drought level
San Angelo is in standard conservation, which restricts outside watering to once every seven days at no more than 1 inch per week. Runoff of more than 150 feet down any street, gutter, alley or ditch is also prohibited.
Do your part; be water smart!
In effect when the city has more than 24 months of available water supply.
Allowable watering days:
April 1 through Oct. 31: Twice every seven days
Nov. 1 through March 31: Once every seven days
Allowable application rates: Up to 1 inch per week.
Prohibited watering hours: Noon to 6 p.m. April 1 through Oct. 31
Hand watering of lawns, gardens, landscape areas, trees, shrubs or other plants being grown outdoors or foundations may be done on any day, except during the prohibited watering hours of noon to 6 p.m., provided the allowable application rate of 1 inch per week is not exceeded.
Landscape or foundation watering with a drip irrigation system such as a soaker hose, deep root watering system, drip pipe or tape, or bubbler shall be permitted on any day and at any time of day provided that the total amount of water applied shall not exceed 1 inch per week.
Golf course greens may be watered daily except during the prohibited watering hours of noon to 6 p.m.
Water conservation videos
Water conservation tips with John Begnaud:
Water conservation tips
- Toilet leaks can be silent. Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year.
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
- If your toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, replace it.
- Do not flush your toilet unnecessarily. Throw your facial tissues in the trash instead of in the toilet.
- Look for WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets and showerheads.
- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
- Turn off the water while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks. It’s simple, inexpensive and you can save 140 gallons a week.
- We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes and hoses. If your water meter is moving even though all faucets are off, your house most likely has a leak somewhere.
- Leave lawn clippings on your grass. This cools the ground and holds in moisture. But don’t let this suffocate your lawn.
- Practice Xeriscaping. This method of landscaping uses plants which are native to your area or are naturally drought resistant.
- Aerate your lawn periodically. Holes every 6 inches will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.
- Sprinklers should spray large drops close to the ground, rather than a fog or mist, which can be blown away by wind.
- Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation wherever possible.
- Watering plants deeply but infrequently encourages deep root growth and drought tolerance.
- Use mulch around plants and flowers. The mulch reduces evaporation and helps keep water near the roots of the plant where it is most beneficial.
- Do not over water. This means watching for puddles or runoff.
- Only water your yard. Concrete sidewalks and gutters don't grow. This may require readjusting your sprinklers or watering some areas by hand.