Posts tagged “water supply

Can you imagine a day without water?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Think a moment about your typical morning routine.

You wake up and make a steaming cup of fresh coffee or tea before heading to the toilet and the shower. After you get dressed in freshly washed clothes, you eat a nutritious breakfast and clean your dishes in the dishwasher or sink.

Of course, you make your dentist happy by brushing your teeth.

Now, imagine for a moment that you had no water. None of your morning activities would be possible without safe and reliable water and the infrastructure that delivers it to your home.

If you’ve never gone without water, it’s almost impossible to envision a day without it. Your water service may have temporarily been shut off to repair a leak, but you had full confidence that the water would soon flow again.

Today is the fourth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water. The Value of Water Campaign is helping hundreds of organizations across the country host events and spearhead projects aimed at raising awareness about the crucial need for investing in our nation’s water infrastructure.

After decades of underfunding, water infrastructure across the nation has aged and needs replacement or significant repairs. Drought, flooding, and population changes have dramatically increased the stress on our water and wastewater systems.

According to the Value of Water Campaign’s report on The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure, a one-day disruption in water services at a national level would result in a $43.5 billion loss in sales for businesses. In just eight days, a national water service stoppage would put nearly two million jobs in jeopardy.

In contrast, for each job created in the water sector, 3.68 jobs are added to the national economy. For every $1 spent on infrastructure improvements, the United States generates $6 in economic returns. That’s a sound investment.

It’s not all gloom and doom. College Station’s water and wastewater systems are young compared to many cities. For the most part, we’ve been able to stay ahead of our infrastructure needs. Each day – including weekends and holidays – our Water Services employees maintain 454 miles of water lines, 363 miles of wastewater lines, nine groundwater wells, and three wastewater treatment plants.

City councils and community leaders through the years have recognized that water is essential to the quality of life and economic competitiveness and have supported the water and wastewater rates necessary to maintain award-winning water and wastewater systems.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Karl Mooney read an official proclamation (at right) for Imagine a Day Without Water to draw attention to the many ways we maintain critical water and wastewater infrastructure.

How you can help

No community can thrive without water, and every American deserves safe, reliable, and accessible water.

You can help by conserving water. Since irrigation water gushing down the street benefits no one, sign up for landscape watering recommendations from Brazos Valley WaterSmart. Every gallon of water saved is a gallon left in the Simsboro Aquifer for later use.

You can also help keep our waterways clean by avoiding over-fertilizing, picking up litter, and disposing of hazardous waste at Household Hazardous Waste collection events like the one scheduled for Oct. 20. Improperly discarded fertilizer, motor oil, and litter make its way into our creeks, which feed into the Navasota and Brazos Rivers – and someone is drinking that water downstream.

A groundswell of communities and partners have come together to promote safe and reliable water systems with Imagine a Day Without Water. We can make a difference by leveraging our collective power, educating our decision-makers, and inspiring our communities to make water infrastructure a priority.

Let’s invest in our water systems, so no American ever has to live a day without water.

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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College Station’s new water rates take effect July 1

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

College Station Utilities hasn’t increased water rates since 2010 thanks to improved conservation efforts by our customers and the implementation of impact fees on new development.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

Last fall, the College Station City Council unanimously approved a six percent increase in water rates as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The council deferred the increase until the fourth quarter, which begins July 1.

College Station has grown more than 25 percent since that last rate increase. That means we need additional water wells to keep up with demand, along with another water tower on the east side of Highway 6. Without one-time impact fees, we’d need a 15 percent rate increase to pay for those necessities.

Water Usage Rates

Here’s a comparative breakdown of the old and new water rates:

Customer Class Usage Per 1,000g before July 1

Per 1,000g after July 1

Residential 10,000 gallons or less $2.26 $2.40
11,000 – 15,000 gallons $2.94 $3.12
16,000 – 20,000 gallons $3.61 $3.83
21,000 – 25,000 gallons $4.28 $4.54
26,000 gallons or more $4.96 $5.26
Commercial Indoor usage $2.49 $2.64
Commercial Outdoor usage (irrigation) $2.68 $2.84

You’ll be charged $2.40 per 1,000 gallons for the first 10,000, $3.12 for the next 5,000, and up the tiers as usage increases.

Your Monthly Bill

More than half of our residential water customers use 10,000 gallons of water or less each month, but some are consistently in the 26,000 gallons-and-up rate block. If you’re a 10,000-gallon user, you’ve paid about $32.79 a month for your water since 2010, which includes a $ 10.19 meter charge. If the existing rates had been indexed annually to inflation, you’d be paying $36.19 today, or $3.40 more. Under the new rate – which includes a $10.80 meter charge – you’ll pay $34.80.

That comes out to about 35 cents for 100 gallons of clean, pure water that’s rated as superior by state regulators. The chart below includes the monthly residential meter charge, which varies by meter size.

Usage Bill before July 1 Bill after July 1 Increase
10,000 gallons $32.79 $34.80 $2.01
15,000 gallons $47.49 $50.40 $2.91
30,000 gallons $111.74 $118.55 $6.81
50,000 gallons $210.94 $223.75 $12.81

Keep Your Costs Down

The City of College Station offers proactive programs to help customers reduce water waste and trim their bills, including free landscape irrigation checkups, direct outreach to the highest water users, rebates on water-saving products, and weekly watering recommendations from Brazos Valley WaterSmart.

Efficient water use is the least expensive way to make our supplies more sustainable, and it keeps your rates lower over time. Your water bill payment is an investment in our water future, ensuring that we can continue to provide you – and generations to come – with high-quality water.

For more information about water rates or conservation, go to cstx.gov/water or call us at 979-764–3660.


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Elevated Water Storage Tank: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $988,000 contract for design and administrative services for an elevated water storage tank off Rock Prairie Road near the Scott & White Hospital. The $8.77 million project is needed to meet state requirements and reduce excessive pressure east of State Highway 6.
  2. Veterans Park Buildout: Also on the consent agenda is a $4.57 million contract for Phase 1 of the build-out of Veterans Park & Athletic Complex. The project will be funded by hotel tax revenue and includes two additional synthetic turf fields, a restroom, lighting, drainage, parking, and other amenities.
  3. Rezoning at Wellborn-Greens Prairie: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to rezone about 35 acres near the intersection of Wellborn Road and Greens Prairie Road West. About 0.9 acres would change from Rural to Suburban Commercial, and the rest would go from Rural to Wellborn Restricted Commercial.
  4. Suburban Commercial Zoning Changes: After a public hearing, the council will consider changes to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to add flexibility to Suburban Commercial zoning. Significant changes include allowing additional uses and reducing buffer and architectural requirements.
  5. Krenek Tap Overlay Removal: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to remove the Krenek Tap overlay zoning district, which was adopted in 2004 when the city was considering an urban development concept for property it owns along Krenek Tap Road.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


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Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Sept. 11)

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Sept. 11. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD) and online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:31 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of executive session.

Workshop Meeting Agenda and Background Materials

6:43 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled these consent items for workshop discussion:

  • Westside Community Park: Staff is requesting approval for the $2.5 million purchase of two tracts (48.6 acres and 55.4 acres) and the acceptance of a third tract (7 acres) as a donation to be developed into the Westside Community Park. The property is located on North Dowling Road west of the city. Additional costs will include surveying, environmental reports, title insurance, and closing fees, which are estimated not to exceed $80,000. Funds are budgeted in the Community Park Land Zone B Fund, the Neighborhood Park Land Zone 15 fund, and the Neighborhood Parks Revolving Fund.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

  • Rental Registration Ordinance Amendment: In July, staff provided the council with an overview and update on the rental registration program. The council directed staff to eliminate the requirement to renew the registration of a property on an annual basis and instead require only an initial registration. Staff recommended adding an additional requirement to register four-plex and other types of rental units to assist city staff when responding to an issue, violation, or emergency.

    Staff reviewed the ordinance as adopted and included changes to clarify information for property owners and residents to better understand which properties are subject to the law. The changes include: The title of the ordinance was revised; the types of properties were added to include single-family, townhome, duplex, triplex, fourplex, five-plex & six-plex; a definition of multi-family dwelling was added; a definition of owner occupied was added; clarification that a new registration is required in the event of a change in ownership; change in local contact information must be reported within 30 days; and fee of $15 charged per building.

  • Single-Stream Recycling Agreement: Staff recommends renewal of years 3-5 of a five-year franchise agreement and general services contract with Brazos Valley Recycling for the collection, processing, and marketing of recyclable materials. The city pays an annual cost of $880,000. The provision of recycling collection services and associated public education programs account for $3.18 out of the $14.40 monthly sanitation fee charged to each customer.
  • Transportation Network Ordinance Repeal: The governor recently signed HB100 into law to provide a uniform, statewide approach to regulating and permitting transportation network companies through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The law preempts local control by establishing exclusive power and function solely to the state. As such, the city transportation network company ordinance will be repealed.

7:12 p.m.

Council to repeal city’s hands-free ordinance

The council voted 4-3 to direct staff to bring back an ordinance to repeal the existing city law regarding the use of hand-held communication devices while driving. The state legislature recently took action to ban texting and driving statewide. The city’s ordinance prohibits any use of hand-held communication devices while driving.

The discussion also included a review of a study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute on the effectiveness of the city ordinance.

Survey of Wireless Communication Device Use

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:27 p.m.

Long-Term Water Supplies

The council heard a presentation about potential long-term water supplies. College Station’s water comes entirely from groundwater wells. As groundwater reserves are drawn down, the city could be required to reduce its pumping amounts.

Consequently, the city is planning for alternative water supplies that would replace any required cutbacks. Possibilities include direct potable reuse, aquifer storage and recovery, desalination, and surface water.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:28 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:36 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

Regular Meeting Agenda and Background Materials

7:41 p.m.

Laserfiche Excellence Award

Deputy City Secretary Ian Whittenton was recognized for receiving MCCi’s Laserfiche Excellence Award for its innovative use of Laserfiche. 

7:43 p.m.

Constitution Week

The mayor proclaimed Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week in commemoration of America’s most important document. The celebration of the Constitution was started by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1955 when the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside an annual observance. The resolution was adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into law in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

7:48 p.m.

Thank a Police Officer Day

Mayor Mooney proclaimed Saturday, Sept. 16 as Thank a Police Officer Day in College Station. The event is promoted by the College Station Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association

7:49 p.m.

Hear Visitors

No one signed up to speak during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

7:49 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • An Interlocal agreement with Brazos County and the City of Bryan to apply for and accept a 2017 Justice Assistance Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • An $11.36 million contract with Larry Young Paving for the Lakeway Drive Project.
  • A $2.88 million contract with Larry Young Paving for the Royder Road Expansion Phase 1 Project.
  • Temporarily changed the posted speed limit to 25 mph on Royder Road between the city limit to 700 feet north of Backwater Drive during the Royder Road Expansion Phase 1 project.
  • A $315,000 contract with Brazos Paving for construction of the culvert and replacement of the water line at the intersection of Dominik and Stallings Drive.
  • Awarded a $545,000 contract to C3 Constructors for the Carter Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant’s 4 and 5 Blower Improvements.
  • A resolution naming the authorized representative on the Public Agency Retirement Services’ Public Agencies Post-Retirement Health Care Plan Trust account.
  • An agreement for administrative services with Public Agency Retirement Services in the amount of 0.25 percent of plan assets for financial advisory services on an annual basis, estimated to be $3,250 in this initial year.
  • A $230,000 contract with Xpedient Mail for printing and mailing utility bills, late notices, and inserts.
  • A three-year Interlocal Agreement with the City of Bryan and Brazos County for the City of College Station to provide Emergency Medical Ambulance Service to Brazos County and to receive payments every quarter.
  • The final reading of the recycling collection franchise ordinance and service agreement renewal with Brazos Valley Recycling not to exceed $880,000 or the number of customers times the approved contract rates.
  • The acquisition of 110.95 acres to be developed into Westside Community Park.
  • A $256,384 contract with Utility Restoration Services for annual padmount equipment repair and restoration.
  • An amendment to the city’s Code of Ordinances regarding the working hours for necessary construction.
  • An amendment to the city’s Building and Building Regulations and Single-Family and Duplex Unit Rental Registration.
  • Repealed the city ordinance regarding Transportation Network Companies after the state legislature passed a bill allowing only the state to regulate transportation network companies.

7:51 p.m.

FY18 Budget Public Hearing

The council conducted a public hearing on the city’s proposed $365.5 million budget for FY18, which is scheduled for adoption Sept. 25.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:58 p.m.

FY18 Tax Rate Public Hearing

The council conducted a public hearing on the city’s proposed tax rate for FY18, which is scheduled for adoption Sept. 25. The proposed rate is 49.75 cents per $100 of assessed value, a 2½-cent increase from the current rate.

One person spoke against the tax increase during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:24 p.m.

Fairview Avenue Rezoning at George Bush Drive

After a public hearing, the council voted 4-3 to approve a request to rezone two lots on the south side of Fairview Avenue at the George Bush Drive intersection. Councilwomen Blanche Brick and Linda Harvell joined Mayor Mooney is voted against the motion. The change will allow the relocation of the nearby Aggieland Outfitters store.

Ten people spoke against the zoning change and three for it during the public hearing. One written statement supporting the change also was submitted.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

 

10:24 p.m.

The meeting will resume after a short break.

10:34 p.m.

The meeting has resumed.

10:37 p.m.

UDO Amendment: Utility Easements

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) regarding the location of utility easements. The change is part of efforts to streamline the UDO and will give the city engineer flexibility regarding the location and width of utility easements, which will reduce costs for the developer, staff time for processing waiver requests, and the number of waiver requests considered by the Planning & Zoning Commission.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:40 p.m.

UDO Amendment: Health Clubs

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the UDO to permit health clubs in Commercial Industrial zoning districts. The change allows gyms and exercise facilities to use buildings with a warehouse or industrial character.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

10:40 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

10:40 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Monday, Sept. 25.

 


About the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also been a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.



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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Park Preserves in ETJ: In the workshop, the council will discuss parkland needs and possibilities in the city’s 3½-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction.
  2. Traffic Control Center Award: The council will recognize the city’s Traffic Systems and Traffic Engineering divisions for the national award they received for the innovative Traffic Control Center.
  3. Four-Way Stop at Thomas/Dexter: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a request to add a four-way stop at the intersection of Thomas Street and Dexter Drive to improve safety.
  4. Water Well No. 9: Also on the consent agenda is a $5.6 million contract for the construction of the city’s ninth water well to add capacity to meet population projections.
  5. Off-Street Parking Standards: After a public hearing, the council will consider amending the off-street parking standards in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to provide flexibility and reduce regulatory barriers.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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We’re keeping a close eye on San Antonio water project

Vista Ridge PipelineBy Dave Coleman, Water Services Director

Last October, the San Antonio City Council approved a contract with a joint venture named Vista Ridge to supply 50,000 acre-feet per year of Simsboro aquifer water to the San Antonio Water System (SAWS).

Since we rely on the Simsboro aquifer for 99 percent of our drinking water, we’re paying close attention to the project. By comparison, combined water use by College Station, Bryan, and Texas A&M is typically about 36,000 acre-feet per year. All three entities are in the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District.

Vista Ridge is able to offer that much water to SAWS because it’s obtained sufficient well permits from the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD). The permits are based on several thousand water rights leases that Vista Ridge has signed with landowners in Burleson County.

Since groundwater is private property in Texas, these landowners are fully within their rights to sell the water under their property.

Desired Future Conditions (more…)