Lubbock water conservation holds off multi-million dollar water supply projects

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:54 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 18, 2021 at 4:53 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - In an update to the Lubbock City Council, city staff said it would be at least another decade before another water supply would need to be online, which would require at least $100 million. The need to not move forward with a project to secure that water supply before then is attributed to successful conservation efforts on the part of Lubbock citizens.

“In the past 10 years, water conservation has delayed projects,” Director of Public Works Wood Franklin told councilmembers. “Water conservation going forward is very important to help delay those expensive projects.”

According to the City of Lubbock, a new water source would need to come online in 2032.

Currently, 46 percent of supply comes from the Roberts County Well Field, 20 percent from Lake Alan Henry, 19 percent from the Bailey County Well Field and 15 percent from Lake Meredith.

A $108 million expansion of the Roberts County Well Field or the $207 million construction of what’s known as Jim Bertram Lake 7 to the west of Buffalo Springs Lake are the proposed options for a new water supply.

“I think if we continue on the same trajectory, with our conservation being below what we had anticipated,” Director of Water Utilities Aubrey Spear said. “We may have a pleasant surprise in the future, in the next five to 10 years that we don’t need one of those new supplies in 2032. But, we have to plan in a conservative way.”

From irrigation ordinances to water rates, city leaders say there are multiple reasons for the success of water conservation efforts, including water efficient technologies.

“Conditions change, which they change day to day,” Spear said. “Last year was very hot and dry here and we tested our conservation resiliency. We still stayed below that conservation line. This year is going to be a wet year. We should get a lot of help with not using as much water.”

Even calculating projected growth in Lubbock, city leaders remain confident in the water supply if conservation efforts continue.

The latest Strategic Water Supply Plan from 2018 can be found by clicking here.

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