HARKER HEIGHTS — The City Council took a big step toward the future Tuesday when members approved the purchase of an additional 2 million gallons per day of treated water from Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 at a cost of more than $8 million.
The water will be provided by a water treatment plant WCID No. 1 plans to construct on Stillhouse Hollow Lake.
Officials believe the purchase ensures the city will not run out of water as the population continues to grow.
“It’s a good idea to get more water,” Mayor Mike Aycock said. “I believe this 2 million gallons will take us through our build-out.”
WCID No. 1 gave Heights an April 1 deadline to make a decision about the water purchase.
Debt schedules for the construction project submitted by Garry Kimball of Specialized Public Finance showed the $8,420,000 the city will pay for the additional water is Heights’ portion of design, engineering and construction costs of the water treatment plant, Finance Director Alberta Barrett said.
“Based on those numbers and our financial forecast, the city can afford to purchase the additional 2 million gallons a day,” she said, adding that the purchase cost is available in the city’s utility fund.
WCID No. 1 provides water to Harker Heights, Fort Hood, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Belton, WCID No. 3 in Nolanville, 439 Water Supply Corporation and Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area.
The district currently operates three water treatment plants that serve a population of more than 250,000 people, according to the district’s website.
Councilman John Reider said the purchase was a “very proactive and progressive” move for the council and an excellent investment for Heights.
“I think water is probably very close to petroleum fuel (in importance) for the future,” he said.