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2014-06-26

Pebble Beach public water supply gets funding

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

This month, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved financial assistance in the amount of $785,000 to the Bandera County Fresh Water Supply District No. 1 (Bandera County). The district provides water for the Pebble Beach subdivision on Medina Lake.
The funds, consisting of a $585,000 loan and $200,000 in loan forgiveness from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, will finance an emergency water supply project.
Water District General Manager Danny Smith is pleased that the funding has been finalized at last. "We were supposed to start drilling a new well six months ago, but [the grant requirements] kept changing," he said. Smith, who is certified with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), has been operating the Pebble Beach water system since 1999.
Now he anticipates that drilling of a new well into the Lower Trinity, the same aquifer tapped by the City of Bandera's wells, will begin within 30 to 60 days.
In addition to TWDB funding, the district also received a grant from the Texas Agriculture Commission for $360,000 earlier this year.
Smith said recent television news stories about the water situation at Pebble Beach have been greatly exaggerated. "We have been on Stage 4 water restrictions for awhile, but no one has been without water. We stay on top of it. We have transducers on all four of our wells and they are monitored constantly."
In addition to the drought, another challenge the district has had to deal with is that its deepest well produces water that is high in fluorides and sulfates, Smith said. "We mix that water in storage with water from our other wells to [get the numbers to meet state standards]." It is hoped that the new well, being drilled two fault lines away from that existing well, will provide better quality water.
The District has 426 metered customers, about 330 of those being active users. Dealing with the drought has been a challenge for all of those customers, too. "We've never experienced this kind of drought," said Smith. With the proposed new well, "we're trying to predict the future and be prepared."
The new well will be located on property purchased last year. The well needs a 150 foot sanitary easement clear of other wells or septic systems. "It was the biggest piece of property available to us," said Smith. "The timing was perfect."
In 2013, one of the District's main water wells stopped producing, resulting in a reduced water supply. The assistance provided by TWDB will allow the District to finance the planning, acquisition, design and construction of an emergency water well, as well as additional system improvements, to address the District's water needs.
The District could save approximately $203,000 over the life of the TWDB loan by using the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning and preparing the State Water Plan for the development of the state's water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.
At their June meeting, the Texas Water Development Board approved financial assistance totaling $11,382,305 for water and wastewater improvements projects across the state like the one at Pebble Beach.