We read and hear a lot in the news these days about a pending water sale agreement between the Brazos River Authority and the City of Abilene. It dominates conversations all over the lake. We hear conflicting stories about how much water is involved, and any amount seems like a lot to us at PK right now when our lake is low and we’re experiencing an historic drought.
Quite frankly all this talk can make a property owner or prospective buyer understandably nervous! We went out and got some facts we’d like to share with you. These certainly eased our minds … and we hope they will ease yours, too:
FACT #1 – THE AMOUNT OF WATER THE BRA HAS AGREED TO SELL THE CITY OF ABILENE IS 4,500 ACRE-FEET PER YEAR.
We’ve seen this amount and significantly larger amounts quoted in news stories – regardless of what you’ve read or heard, the BRA-Abilene contract is only 4,500 acre-feet per year.
We understand the City of Abilene is ALSO seeking water from other sources - namely current BRA customers who are not using their full water rights. In technical jargon, this is referred to as a resale or consent to resell [water rights], which in this instance would effectively allow Abilene to become a sub-customer of the BRA's direct customer. This is a common arrangement and explains why the amounts we see reported are different depending on the news source. In fact, the PK Water Supply Corp is currently seeking a similar arrangement with one of BRA's "direct" customers.
FACT #2 – WATER PURCHASED FROM THE BRA IS MOST LIKELY ABILENE’S MOST EXPENSIVE WATER SOURCE.
The BRA believes that when conditions return to more normal historical patterns and Abilene’s other water supply sources are replenished, it is likely Abilene would cease diversion of water from PK and use more economical resources to meet their demands.
FACT #3 – THE CONTRACT BETWEEN THE BRA AND THE CITY OF ABILENE HAS NOT BEEN SIGNED YET.
The BRA has said it would sell this amount to Abilene, but the contract is still pending execution.
FACT #4 – THE CONTRACT IS FOR “FIRM” WATER.
That means the water would be available to Abilene whether there was a drought or not (assuming there was water available). Under the terms of their contract with the BRA, Abilene would have access of up to 4,500 acre-feet of water in any given year for the term of their contract.
FACT #5 – THE DATE THIS COULD HAPPEN IS NOT YET KNOWN.
The BRA believes the City of Abilene would like to be able to access the water by May of 2015.
FACT #6 – THE CITY OF ABILENE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO ADHERE TO THE BRA’S DOUGHT CONTINGENCY PLAN.
All entities that have contracts with the BRA for water have to adhere to the same plan. You can view the plan here.
To fully get your head around this issue, it might be helpful to understand what 4,500 acre-feet of water per year really looks like . . .
Amount currently being released at the PK dam for environmental flow:
35 cfs (cubic feet per second)
This equates to 22 million gallons/day OR 70 acre-feet/day OR
25,550 acre-feet annually
Last month’s water loss due to evaporation (October 2014):
6,000 acre-feet (in one month)
For comparison, the contemplated Abilene Water Agreement is:
4,500 acre-feet annually.
We still have questions about the water sale and we continue to pursue those with the BRA and others. These are the facts, as we know them today.
When it rains and the lakes are full, there is more than enough water for everyone’s use. In times of drought, and make no mistake we are in the midst of an historic one, water management becomes critical. Cities cannot be denied drinking water from our state’s reservoirs, and PK is no exception.
Droughts are cyclical. We will endure this one. The skies will open, rain will come and our lakes will fill and spill again, and we will all enjoy another period of plentiful water and a full PK with floating docks.
However, there will be more droughts - long ones and short ones. Water recreation has not been ideal for the homeowners and visitors to PK these last few years, but it’s easy to find areas harder hit than we’ve been. And let’s not lose sight of this last fact –
FACT #7 – PK IS STILL A BEAUTIFUL AREA ABUNDANT IN RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES!
The best years are not behind us - we think they lie ahead. The majority of our homes are now on deeded land, water management is getting more attention than it ever has, and think what a thrill it will be to see the lake full again!
As always, we welcome your questions and comments. If we don't know the answers, we generally know where to find them.
-- YOUR FRIENDS AT PONDERA PROPERTIESPosted by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Pondera Properties on