The Killeen City Council agreed Tuesday to meet with representatives of Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 to find a solution to the city’s predicted water shortage.
If the city continues to grow at its current rate, demand is predicted to exceed the daily amount of treatable water from WCID-1 between 2016 and 2019, city engineer Michael Meadows said, in a presentation to the council Tuesday.
The city’s estimates, based on population growth projections, also put Killeen in danger of exceeding two limits of water usage set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, one as soon as 2013.
Meadows said that, based on current daily usage and summertime peaking factors, by 2013 the population of Killeen will reach 133,000 and demand will be greater than 85 percent of its allowable capacity — a violation of TCEQ regulations.
Killeen’s current population is about 131,474.
On Aug. 4, 2011, during historic drought conditions, Killeen came within a few hundred thousand gallons of water of the 85 percent regulation, setting off alarms for the city.
Also Killeen, which has about 54,400 water connections, is just 2,538 connections from violating a separate mandate by TCEQ.
That violation could occur as soon as 2014, Meadows said.
Killeen receives all its water from a WCID treatment plant at Belton Lake, a water retail company that purchases water from the Brazos River Authority.
The city contracts a maximum of 32 million gallons of water a day from WCID-1.
During the meeting Tuesday, Meadows gave three options for providing water for future growth in the city.
“This can be diverted. This can be moved out,” Meadows said.
The first option is expanding the WCID treatment plant at Belton Lake.
Another option is building a new plant on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, which would provide the city with water in the area that is experiencing the most growth, but the new plant would take five to eight years to become operational.
The five- to eight-year wait may not address the city’s predicted water shortages.
A third option involves the city of Killeen purchasing water from a different water retail company already selling water on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
Meadows said the third option would allow the city to receive water from Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir before it exceeds the coming limits of water usage.
“Time is of the essence,” Meadows said. “(WCID) is an integral partner in the area. (WCID) will be allies as we move forward with this.”
Mayor Dan Corbin asked city staff to arrange a meeting with WCID-1 as soon as possible. Staff recommended the meeting be held in late January or early February.
“I think we need to be forward looking with this,” Corbin said. “Let’s just identify all of our potential sources and our potential options and consider those that minimize the ill effects on residents.”