Funding requested, some approved by Lubbock County to address dams, water infrastructure at Buffalo Springs, Ransom Canyon

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 9:40 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock County Commissioners on Monday approved the use of some of the American Rescue Plan Act funds for an investigation into the McMillan Dam at Buffalo Springs Lake, the preliminary phase of a project to make repairs and improvements to the barrier that controls the spill into Ransom Canyon. Ransom Canyon has also requested ARPA funding from Lubbock County for repairs to its own dam and other water infrastructure projects.

“We have been very fortunate here in Ransom Canyon that we continue to grow over time,” City Manager Elena Quintanilla said. “As a result of that, we have a lot of infrastructure needs.”

Ransom Canyon asked the County for $283,000 for four projects. The purchase and installation of 225 smart water meters was the largest request at $133,000.

“When we started looking at smart water meters, we did have a 20 percent water loss,” Quintanilla said. “We did not know if we had leaks somewhere, what was the situation and how we could deter those leaks. We started looking at ways to provide water meters for our citizens. That helps give them accurate readings. It also helps us look and see where all the leaks are occurring in our community. They’re critical for those reasons but also, currently, we have a staff of four in our Operations Department. All four of those individuals on a given day, when we have to read meters, physically go out there to locate the meters, and then they read them manually. Then they bring in the old-fashioned logbooks and those are inputted. There are 550 of those meter readings every month that our administration staff actually physically input into a software system.”

Required by Senate Bill 3 in Texas’ 87th Legislative Session, Ransom Canyon also seeks $60,000 for a backup generator for its ground storage tanks.

Next, the town is asking for $70,000 to make repairs to the Ransom Canyon Dam, which is on the south end of the lake and serves as East Lakeshore Drive.

“Anytime there’s heavy rainfall, we have problems with vehicles getting across that area, partly because there are some joints in there and some cement that has worn off over years,” Quintanilla said. “The very top of the road has basically worn off, so it’s important for us to repair.”

The Commissioners’ Court allocated $99,250 for an engineering site visit and modeling to determine what improvements are needed to the McMillan Dam. That’s where water feeds from Buffalo Springs Lake into Ransom Canyon.

Ransom Canyon is seeking its own engineering feasibility study for a portion of the canyon on what’s known as the “back hill” along Hillside Drive. The town is asking for $20,000 for the geo-tech study.

“We often see heavy boulders that end up in the street when there is heavy rainfall and natural erosion,” Quintanilla said. “We decided that it is time to actually look at a feasibility study. It has been a significant safety issue because when there is erosion, we do experience quite a bit of the chipping off the wall. We hope to see an engineering study being conducted here in the near future to determine how to help secure that back wall so that citizens are not concerned for their safety. If they’re driving through there or riding their bikes, we want to make sure they’re safe. We also want those houses at the top of that back hill to be safe as well.”

Quintanilla told KCBD that the Ransom Canyon Capital Improvement Advisory Committee has evaluated the projects for several years and strategized ways to fund them. She said they would like to get them sooner rather than later and avoid raising fees or taxes on residents.

“This is critical, not only for Ransom Canyon, we are an extension of Lubbock County,” Quintanilla said. “We want to join efforts with them and be able to secure funding that helps both the County and Ransom Canyon overall.”

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