Wolfforth prepares for water connection to Lubbock, pays remaining consulting fee for contract

Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 8:26 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2023 at 5:16 PM CDT
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WOLFFORTH, Texas (KCBD) - The City of Wolfforth is a month away from being able to purchase water from the City of Lubbock for the next 25 years, a connection city leaders say will have a quick impact on water restrictions for residents.

As Wolfforth prepares the necessary infrastructure, it’s also paying the rest of a $2.7 million consulting fee to West Texas Water Resources, LLC for services it provided in securing the water purchase contract with Lubbock.

“The citizens of Wolfforth, Texas, have been unable to water their yards since last July, at all,” City Manager Randy Criswell said. “It is my desire and is the City Council’s desire that we’re going to get to a place where that no longer is the case.”

Criswell said the investment in the water source from Lubbock will result in a relaxing of drought contingency measures this summer. The 25-year contract takes effect June 1. The agreement allows Wolfforth to pump a maximum of 500,000 gallons per day. Wolfforth will be charged 1.5 times the current wholesale rate for the water.

“The complete prohibition of irrigation, I believe that will change this summer,” Criswell said. “I’m absolutely committed to that.”

Criswell tells KCBD he’s pushing every day to make sure the water starts flowing from Lubbock on June 1, which will require a change to disinfection in Wolfforth’s system and approval by TCEQ. Wolfforth has also installed a backflow prevention mechanism at its water treatment plant.

“Our partnership with Lubbock allows us some comfort and some stability and a little bit of a breath where we can feel like we’ve done something really, really good for water supply,” Criswell said.

The Wolfforth City Council on April 17 unanimously authorized the issuance and sale of a tax note so it could pay West Texas Water Resources, LLC $2.35 million. It had already paid $350,000 for consulting services.

“I don’t want people to think that the City of Wolfforth in any way has not been anything but committed to the diligent expenditure of their money,” Criswell said.

“The greatest mistake that we can make as city leaders is to have to look at our people in the eye for one more day and say, it looks like we’ll never irrigate again in Wolfforth or we won’t have water to drink in Wolfforth or we’re under a boil water notice every day because the tank levels have dropped to a point where we’ve lost pressure. None of those things are okay. If you compare that potential to what really is, in the long run, a $2.7 million fee for a water supply, that’s not a whole lot of money if you look at it from that perspective. To me, it’s an investment that was worth every penny.”

Criswell believes the contract with Lubbock would not have been possible without the services provided by the LLC, which is registered in Lubbock by Benji Snead. Snead said he could not comment for this story due to a non-disclosure agreement.

According to Criswell, the fee was based on the value of the contract at a 25-year life as well as other variables.

“I believe that contract would not have existed without the help of West Texas Water Resources consulting,” Criswell said. “I just don’t believe it would have. I think that they were able to position themselves and to allow for some opportunity that might not have occurred otherwise for us to be seriously talking to and ultimately having a contract negotiated with the City of Lubbock that was approved by both governing bodies and has created, today, a 25-year connection to the City of Lubbock for a lot of water.”

When other necessary infrastructure is completed by the City of Wolfforth or in June of 2026, a maximum of 750,000 gallons can be pumped from Lubbock per day.

“We’re going to be in a different place than we’ve been in a long, long time, maybe ever, with regard to our water supply and our infrastructure,” Criswell said. “It’s going to be a good time to be looking to come to Wolfforth. It’s a good time today but there’s a light at the end of that thirsty tunnel.”