by BRAD ROLLINS
BUDA — Mere months away from projected water shortages, the Buda City Council approved an agreement this week to buy 1,120 acre-feet a year — one million gallons a day — of surplus water from the cities of Kyle and San Marcos beginning Jan. 1.
Under the deal, Kyle and San Marcos will also lease a combined 694 acre-feet of annual capacity — 619,564 gallons a day — in the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority pipeline through which water is moved from Lake Dunlap in Guadalupe County to a regional water treatment plant in eastern San Marcos. Additionally, Kyle will lease Buda a million gallons a day of its portion of capacity in the treatment plant and the GBRA pipeline that moves water north from San Marcos.
The Buda and Kyle city councils unanimously voted to accept the terms during their regular meetings on Tuesday. It is not clear if the San Marcos City Council will be asked to vote on the pact or if city staff will assert its authority to sign the agreement based on a wholesale water lease policy previously adopted by council members.
The arrangement among the three corridor cities is outlined in an unfussy three-page document that volunteers no evidence of its considerable significance in the region’s white-hot grappling for water supplies. The Buda council has previously proclaimed its intention to buy a million gallons of groundwater a day from Electro Purification LLC, a Houston company scraping to build a commercial well field in Hays County to draw groundwater from the Trinity Aquifer.
Buda is one of the EP’s three known clients, the other two being the Anthem Municipal Utility District, tentatively committed to buy 1.3 million gallons, and the Goforth Special Utility District, penciled in for three million gallons a day. EP’s unrelenting opponents have been working for months to peel away Anthem and Goforth from the company’s alliance.
Kyle and San Marcos will provide water to their northern neighbor for seven years. The deal terminates in 2023, the same year the Hays-Caldwell Public Utility Agency has said it will complete the first phase of a 40-mile pipeline to transport groundwater from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in eastern Caldwell County to ever-more populous eastern Hays County.
The document does not delineate how much Buda will pay for use of San Marcos’ and Kyle’s water supply.