Many questions have been raised recently by the publicity concerning the San Angelo well field. The San Angelo City Council met on July 7, 2009 to discuss the viability of producing and transporting water from the well fields in McCulloch County. Carollo Engineering, the firm hired by San Angelo, is studying which conveyance method would be the most feasible. The options include building a pipeline directly from the well field or tying into the pipeline that brings water to San Angelo from O.H. Ivie Reservoir. The firm will also study the best method to remove the radium from the water. Current cost estimates range from $100 million to over $200 million. Carollo Engineering will address the City Council again in September.
Harold Dominguez, San Angelo City Manager, and Will Wilde, Water Utilities Director, met with the staff of the Hickory Underground Water Conservation District July 15 to express a desire to work in cooperation with the District and municipalities in the region. Dominguez said, “The City of San Angelo is committed to working with all communities to take a regional look of how can we cooperate to ensure a viable, long term water supply for everyone in Central West Texas.”
In order to better understand what is actually happening, a little history lesson is in order. In January 1995 the City of San Angelo filed nine applications for permitting and production of water from the Hickory Underground Aquifer. This was later amended to include twenty-two planned or existing wells in the San Angelo well field. After many legal battles, the Hickory UCWD issued a single permit to San Angelo to produce water. This permit set several stipulations on production and use. The water shall be used for a beneficial purpose, without waste, and may not be sold. If any surface water is to be replaced with water from the District, that water, as well, may not be sold. A schedule of production was also set. From March 14, 1996 until March 13, 2006, the maximum quantity of water allocated annually to San Angelo is 1500 acre-feet. San Angelo may bank this water for future used, however no more than 10,000 acre-feet may be produced in any one year. From March 14, 2006 until March 13, 2021, the yearly amount is 2,750 acre-feet, again with the stipulation to bank. No more than 15,000 acre-feet may be produced annually during this period. From March 14, 2021 until March 13, 2026 the annual amount is 5,000 acre-feet, yearly production after banking limited to 15,000 acre-feet. From March 14, 2026 to March 13, 2036 the annual amount is 10,000 acre-feet plus any accrued water, for a maximum of 12,000 acre-feet per year. After 2036, the maximum quantity is 12,000 acre-feet.