The City of Lubbock has agreed to sell water from Lake Alan Henry to communities in Garza and Kent Counties. This ends nearly three years of debate over the deal. Both sides say they're extremely pleased with this deal. It will give communities like Post, Justiceburg and Jayton a back-up water supply. It will make Lubbock a lot of money.
The nearly 3,000 acre reservoir has been a prime recreational outlet for the past decade. Now, it will help to hydrate a few West Texas communities thirsty for more water. Garza County Judge Giles Dalby says Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal helped to seal the deal. "I just have nothing but praise for him. From time to time, this got off high center and he's the one that got it back on from their standpoint," says Judge Dalby.
This deal is making a big splash on both sides. If Lubbock sells the maximum amount of water, it will generate the City nearly $6 million a year, enough to cover all of the City's annual loan payments and operating costs for the lake.
In the bill, we had drafted in there, a provision that allows us to recapture all of our costs that we have in the lake and the overall operational costs as well. It also allows us to get a rate of return on our investments," says Mayor Marc McDougal.
Meantime, the deal gives Garza and Kent Counties an additional water supply for roughly 20 years. That will help to support growth like the new developments springing up near the lake.
The reservoir was complete in 1993 as a future water supply for Lubbock. But Lubbock shouldn't need this water for another 30 years. So, City officials have agreed selling it is no harm, no foul. Especially considering the fact that the amount of water Garza and Kent Counties use over the next two decades, will be less than what evaporates in that same amount of time.
Post perhaps stands to gain the most out of this deal. That community appears to be on the fast track to securing water. Right now, Post is building a 24 mile, $3.2 million dollar pipeline from Slaton. They bought Slaton's excess lake Meredith water. Water deals that come on the heals of a diminishing water supply at Post's main water source, White River Lake.
The only thing that remains to be determined is the rate Garza and Kent Counties will pay for Lake Alan Henry water. "I think we can work something out that we can both live with," says Judge Dalby.
This deal comes in the form of a bill that must be approved by state lawmakers. Lubbock reserves the right to stop selling water if the water level drops below a certain point. That will preserve recreation at the lake.
Former Mayor Alan Henry, whom the lake is named after, told NewsChannel 11 he commends the council for making the deal.