Bell County Water Control & Improvement District #1 is the largest municipal customer of the Brazos River Authority, contracting more than 62,000 acre-feet of water annually (approximate annual usage is 31,000 acre-feet of water) from Lake Belton and now Lake Stillhouse Hollow. The District contracts 100% of the water provided to its customers from the Brazos River Authority. Currently, the District does not have any ground water supplies. Groundwater or well water is pumped from underground water bearing formations called aquifers. Most aquifers in Central Texas are many hundred to many thousand feet deep. Much more information regarding groundwater can be found at the Clearwater Underground Water District website at www.cuwcd.org.
There are two surface water contracts; one dating back to 1966 and reissued in 1992 for election/option water and the other dating back to July 2006 for 13,000 acre feet of “system” water. “System” water is water that was made available through the Brazos River Authority’s system operations plan that’s over and above the prior election/option contracts. The cost of this water is assessed annually based on Authority Operations and Capital costs. The district has 49,509 acre-feet of election/option water under contract until 2042. The “system” water contract, which includes 13,000 acre-feet expires in 2031.
While the district and its wholesale customers are in good position for the planning horizon, we’re always looking to improve our water supply for the future. The Brazos River Authority is working to optimize their supply (see BRA System Operations plan at www.brazos.org/About-Us/Water-Supply/SysOps) by moving forward on projects that have been identified in the state water plan (see www.twdb.texas.gov/waterplanning/swp/index.asp) such as the Allen’s Creek reservoir project near Houston and closer to home, the Brazos River Authority has recently initiated the development of an Integrated Water Resource Plan (IWRP). The objective is to prepare a strategic plan to guide development of additional water supplies in the Little River Watershed subsystem of the Brazos River Basin and provide a framework for water supply project evaluation and prioritization that can ultimately be expanded to provide a plan for the entire Brazos River Basin.