FLORENCE — Texas Department of Agriculture commissioner Todd Staples announced Wednesday the distribution of federal disaster relief grants to cities including Florence.

The grants are being distributed to cities and counties still recovering from last year’s drought and wildfires, according to a news release. Florence will receive $350,000 from the federal Community Development Block Grant Program.

“The project that we are going to use it for is to bring some surface water to our system,” said Florence Mayor Mary Condon. “This money and the money the city will add to it will enable us to (do that).”

Florence representatives have developed a contract with the Chisholm Trail Special Utilities District to bring raw water to the city’s current well-water system, Condon said.

City drinking water supplies were limited during the drought last year, according to the release, and the funds will help to install a metering station, chlorination stations and a water management and monitoring system, among other things.

The estimated cost of the project is around $700,000, said Condon, which will include running pipes to the well sites and building a new, larger water storage tank at the site.

“I’m not an engineer, but by looking around, our wells are not as productive as they used to be because the water table is dropping,” said Condon. “More development, more people, more straws in the glass. Because the water table appears to be becoming lower, it’s really advantageous for us to have a surface water supply.”

For a city to be eligible for the block grant program funds, it must have a population of less than 50,000, while counties must be smaller than 200,000, according to the release. Llano and Seymour also received $350,000 grants, as did Bastrop County.

Contact Audrey Spencer at aspencer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476

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