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.
The last master plan update revealed that some additional supply is needed in the planning horizon, even with some redistribution of contracted water. Additionally, more treatment capacity will be needed by some entities within the next 10 years to support their growth. The current drought accentuates the need for water users to begin maximizing conservation efforts. As a supplier, it’s obvious from usage records that more people are conserving. The peaking factor from the drought of 2011 was 2.13 for the combined customers served by WCID 1. This past summer we experienced a very similar intensity drought yet our peaking factor was 2.13 for the combined customers served. A more direct metric is the monthly gallons sold. The gallons sold in August 2022 topped the old record from August 2011. 1,665,164,880 gallons sold compared to 1,641,928,875. The summer 2022 number is 1.4% higher despite the fact that our population served is 1.8% higher. This trend needs to continue as conservation measures are earmarked to help close the gap in water demand versus water available in the decades to come. For more information regarding the WCID 1 Master Plan click here. To see how your city or water supplier is situated for the planning horizon in the state water plan visit www.twdb.texas.gov/waterplanning/swp/index.asp. To see more about the planned Brazos River Authority projects visit www.brazos.org.