Wolfforth to purchase water from Lubbock under 25-year agreement

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 8:55 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2022 at 10:19 PM CST
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WOLFFORTH, Texas (KCBD) - With the approval of the Lubbock City Council, the City of Wolfforth will now be able to purchase treated water from its neighbor through a deal that will last the next 25 years.

“We’ll start with one connection to the City of Lubbock’s distribution system that will come directly into our downtown area where our treatment facility and storage facilities are,” Wolfforth City Manager Randy Criswell said. “Then over the next, we hope, over the next three years or less, we will build some ground storage and a booster pump station and the infrastructure that would be needed to take water from an additional point to the north of Wolfforth.”

The agreement allows Wolfforth to pump a maximum of 500,000 gallons per day starting in June of 2023. When that infrastructure is complete or in June of 2026, a maximum of 750,000 gallons can be pumped per day.

“The 500,000 gallons a day equates to about a third of a high-use summer day for us,” Criswell said. “That’s substantial. That’s really significant. The added benefit of it, we believe, is that since the water is coming in here as treated water, and some of the components of the water are actually better than our water, a little bit higher quality in some chemical ways than our water, that could allow us to actually benefit to a greater degree. We can blend this Lubbock water with our water, and maybe ultimately, it allows our plant to put out the same amount that it’s capable of, but we have water that doesn’t have to go through that treatment process.”

The City of Wolfforth is responsible for all expenses that come with building the new infrastructure and it will be charged 1.5 times the current wholesale rate for the water itself. According to the City of Lubbock City Council agenda, “The maximum first year revenue to Lubbock under the contract is approximately $1.3 million.”

“These dollars can help support, first off, operations,” Lubbock City Manager Jarrett Atkinson said. “We have to produce the water to have it to sell. Number two, just really the ongoing upkeep, maintenance and expansion of our system.”

Atkinson said the revenue will go into the Water & Wastewater Fund in the City of Lubbock. It’s expected that, at a maximum, the volume of water that Wolfforth will obtain per day is 2.1 percent of Lubbock’s average daily use.

“We get to see a continued growth and kind of a thriving boundary between the two cities,” Atkinson said. “We’re right up to each other. I think, really, what’s good for Wolfforth is good for us. Lubbock is a big retail hub and a hospitality hub, and just so many other things, and I really believe for Lubbock, the better they do, the better we’re going to do. We are going to have that common boundary and I think this shows that we can work together and benefit both of us.”

Criswell said the agreement will require an increase to Wolfforth water customer bills. He said the rate impact is still being determined but is expected to be implemented by June.

“The cost of that water that we purchase from Lubbock will result in higher costs to the water customers in Wolfforth, Texas, but it also brings so many wonderful benefits with it like security, and hopefully, future, far smaller implementations of drought contingency plans and water conservation plans,” Criswell said. “I think it allows us to provide for our future in a far different and far better way than what we’ve been able to in the past.”

In September the City of Wolfforth also entered into a long-term contract with Loop 88, LLC to purchase untreated groundwater. Criswell said the Lubbock water will help diversity the growing city’s supply.

“We want that growth,” Criswell said. “We embrace that growth, but with it comes capacity concerns, and we are working on those diligently every single day.”

Criswell said he’s grateful for the partnership with the City of Lubbock, which has been in the works since August.

“Governments that work together are really doing what we should be doing, because we’re all in this together,” Criswell said. “I applaud the Wolfforth City Council and I applaud the Lubbock City Council and staff for helping get this done.”

Wolfforth will be bound by Lubbock’s conservation and drought contingency requirements.