By Libby Cluett
PALO PINTO COUNTY – It will be a long time before customers start sipping Turkey Peak water, but Mineral Wells City Manager Lance Howerton said, “Everything’s been put into motion.”
This includes the Palo Pinto County Municipal Water District No. 1 “authorizing the submission of water rights permits and a boost from the recent announcement of $8 million in state funds.
At their January meeting, the Texas Water Development Board approved funds for project “planning, permitting and preliminary engineering.” Through the 2007 State Water Plan, the TWDB has encouraged water development, like the Turkey Peak reservoir, in order to meet growing future demands.
The TWDB’s pledged $8 million to the PPCWSD would be broken down as follows:
• A grant of $2.4 million because many of the district’s customers qualify for the Economically Distressed Areas Program.
• A no-interest loan of $2.4 million, also from the Economically Distressed Areas Program.
• A low-interest loan of $3.2 million from the Water Infrastructure Fund to finance development costs of a water supply project.
Through Lake Palo Pinto the PPCMWD supplies drinking water to Mineral Wells and several other districts in Palo Pinto and western Parker counties. The lake was created by damming Palo Pinto Creek in 1964 with a 96-foot-high earthfill dam, but since the 1980s, the district has looked into ways to increase water storage with deeper reservoirs.
With an average depth of 13 feet, Lake Palo Pinto is considered shallow and experiences increased sedimentation. It also has a relatively high evaporation rate. When it was first impounded, the lake’s capacity was estimated at 28,800 acre feet. A 1985 survey measured Lake Palo Pinto’s capacity at 27,650 acre feet and a 2007 TWDB survey measured the lake’s volume at 26,480 acre feet.
Because of Lake Palo Pinto’s increased sedimentation, combined with a growing regional population, TWDB states, “Projected water demands will exceed the reservoir’s water supply by 2019.”
State funds to help prepare ground for new off-channel water supply reservoirState funds to help prepare ground for new off-channel water supply reservoir
By Libby Cluett
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