State agency announces $7M loan for Hays County water project

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Buda seeking water supply solutions
The future source of water for I-35 corridor cities in Hays County is one step closer to its realization.

On Nov. 20 the Texas Water Development Board, a state agency charged with administering financial programs in connection with public water utility projects, announced that it had closed on a $7.49 million loan that will fund the construction of a pipeline from Kyle to Buda that will transmit those cities’ future water source from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Caldwell County.

The loan is part of a program called the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, or SWIFT. The program was floated to voters by the state Legislature in 2013 and subsequently approved. Eligible projects include those recommended in the state water plan. The TWDB aims to fund approximately $8 billion in water projects in its first decade, according to the state agency’s website.

The Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency, which comprises the cities of Buda, Kyle and San Marcos along with other water providers, will head up the project.

“We are appreciative of the Water Development Board’s efforts in making that funding available to us,” HCPUA General Manager Graham Moore said.

Moore said that while the project would have moved forward regardless, the loans help its participants, specifically the city of Kyle and Canyon Regional Water Authority, realize cost savings. The cities of Buda and San Marcos will fund with cash their portions of the project’s first phase.

Known as Phase 1A, the project will entail the construction of a new pipeline connecting Kyle’s water system to Buda’s as well as a new pump station linking those two systems.

Moore said the project is in the engineering phase, and design will not likely be completed until the summer. With construction slated to begin later that year, the project is expected to be completed in 2017, he said.

That will not affect Buda’s ability to access water it has projected to need for future growth beginning in 2017, Moore said. The city has funded $1.27 million in infrastructure improvements to increase the capacity of water that it can receive through the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority’s I-35 pipeline. Buda is finalizing an agreement with the cities of Kyle and San Marcos to buy those cities’ excess water. That water is expected to fill a short-term gap from 2017 to 2023, when the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer water will become available.

“There is no jeopardy that [Buda] will be without water during that time frame,” Moore said.