Texas Water District Gets Funds for Pipeline Project

The pipeline will connect three reservoirs in order to save money on energy costs.

Tarrant Regional Water District Pipeline

The planned pipeline from Lake Palestine will connect to the Cedar Creek and Richland-Chamber reservoirs.

The Tarrant Regional Water District received approval for a $101 million loan to finance part of a 180-mile pipeline serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Texas Water Development Board announced in January.

The pipeline from Lake Palestine will be jointly developed by Dallas Water Utilities, and combine two independent projects in order to save $500 million in capital costs. Additionally it will cost several billion dollars in future operations and maintenance costs, according to Wayne Owen, the planning director for Tarrant Regional.

Total cost for the project is estimated at $1.6 billion.

By connecting Lake Palestine with two of Tarrant Regional’s existing supply reservoirs, the water district will save on energy costs, Owen told Circle of Blue.

“This project will allow us to move water from any of the three sources in regards to most economic means,” Owen said. “The biggest expense for us is energy to pump and transport water. A large portion of the savings is in energy.”

The pipeline will increase Tarrant Regional’s supply capacity by nearly 200 million gallons per day, while Dallas will divert 150 million gallons per day.

The pipeline route will be finalized in March, and construction could start as early as 2013, said Chad Lorance, communications manager for Tarrant Regional. The water district hopes to finish the project by 2018.

The subsidized loan from the water development board will cover conceptual design and permitting costs and will be paid for by annual bond issues over the next six years, Owen said.

Money for the loan came from the water development board’s Water Infrastructure Fund, which finances projects included in the state water plan, said Ken Peterson, general counsel for the board.

The state water plan, last updated in 2007, aims to develop projects that will maintain a 50-year supply of water for Texas, Peterson told Circle of Blue.

The new pipeline will not affect Tarrant’s lawsuit against Oklahoma for access to its water resources, Owen said. Instead, the pipeline’s expanded capacity will allow the water district to fully use the water in its existing reservoirs.

Tarrant Regional’s lawsuit was revived in December when U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton allowed the water district to file an amended complaint clarifying its position. The Oklahoma attorney general’s office filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint earlier last month. The judge has not ruled on either action, Owen said.

Tarrant Regional supplies water to 1.7 million customers through wholesale contracts to the cities of Fort Worth and Arlington and to the Trinity River Authority.

Read more about the 2007 Texas State Water Plan.

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