by WES FERGUSON
Demand for water in Buda will exceed capacity within the next eight years, according to projections provided to the Buda City Council last week.
As the city grows and becomes thirstier, Buda leaders will have to explore more options for future water sources, consultant Graham Moore told council members on March 6.
Options over the next five years include sharing water with neighboring entities, he said, and continuing to develop a water supply through the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency, a partnership among the corridor cities of Kyle, Buda and San Marcos and a handful of smaller water suppliers in the area.
The agency is planning to drill for water in the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Caldwell and Gonzales counties and pipe it west to the corridor, but the agency’s drilling permit from the Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District is being contested. A permit hearing will likely be held in the second half of the year, said Moore, an engineer with the firm Lockwood, Andrews and Newman.
Aging septic tanks in the impoverished Hillside Terrace subdivision east of Buda are leaking sewage into Plum Creek.
To protect the creek, considered one of the state’s impaired waterways, the city of Buda has pre-applied for a forgivable loan that would pay for up to 70 percent of the cost of running wastewater service to the neighborhood’s 265 homes.
Working with Hays County and the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership, a regional consortium led by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the city also qualified for the loan last year but declined to accept it amid concerns over payment of the remaining 30 percent of the project expense.
Connecting the homes to Buda’s wastewater infrastructure would cost an estimated $5.6 million, according to a presentation given to the City Council last week. Buda and Hays County officials have begun discussing how to pay the remaining $1.7 million not covered by the forgivable loan, Buda City Manager Kenneth Williams said.
“We’ve started talking money and how to put this together and make it work for the city of Buda,” he said. “If we all share in the costs it makes it much likelier to succeed.”
Though the city would begin to collect monthly wastewater fees from Hillside Terrace residents, Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Tenorio said the city should also consider levying impact fees to fund the endeavor.
“I think it’s a great project, and it needs to be done,” she said. “And I think there’s money out there for that 30 percent.”
WES FERGUSON is editor of the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.Email | Print