Heights council hears report on current and future water contracts | Local

The Harker Heights City Council hosted a workshop session on Tuesday that included a discussion of the city’s current and future raw water contracts with the County of Water Control and Improvement District No. Bell and the Brazos River Authority.

Bell County WCID No. 1 was formed in 1952 by ordinance passed by the Texas State Board of Water Engineers. It provides sewerage services in Killeen and Fort Hood in addition to treated drinking water in Fort Hood, Harker Heights, Killeen, Copperas Cove, Belton, WCID No. 3 and 439 Water Supply Corporation.

Harker Heights Director of Public Works Mark Hyde was joined by Brazos River Authority Managing Director and CEO David Collinsworth, Brazos River Authority Chief Financial Officer David Thompson, Dr. Austin Ruiz, Board of Directors of the Brazos River Authority, Richard Garrett, general manager of Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, and former Harker Heights Mayor Robert Robinson, current vice-chairman of the commission of Harker Heights Planning and Zoning and Chairman of WCID’s #1 Board of Directors.

Collinsworth and Thompson then presented the annual operating system rates for fiscal year 2022 for the BRA.

The second part of the workshop included a presentation by Director of Planning and Development, Kristina Ramirez, on the Knights Way overlay neighborhood along FM 2410.

Through a PowerPoint presentation, Hyde shared some basic definitions of raw water measurement units.

Units are measured in acre-feet (Ac/Ft), which is the amount of water that covers one acre of land at a depth of one foot, and equals 325,851 gallons.

The city of Harker Heights has 8,800 Ac/Ft of raw water in Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes, or just under 3 billion gallons.

Explaining the Ac/Ft concept in more detail, Hyde said, “If you have a football pitch with no end zones, this acre-foot of water fits perfectly. These imaginary football fields are 8,800 in number in Harker Heights with water a foot deep.

The raw water contract with WCID #1 is known as a choice/use option contract sometimes referred to as a two-tier contract.

WCID #1 Executive Director Richard Garrett said, “WCID is under contract with Water Right 2328, issued by the BRA’s Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This contract expires in 2042.

“Election water is raw water that is actually used in a calendar year by the city. Option-Use Water is raw water contracted but not used in a calendar year and remains in the Belton Lake water basin and is half the cost of election raw water election use- Use,” according to Garrett.

All raw water from Harker Heights is now classified as “election water” for the remainder of the contract.

The current electoral usage rate is $29.80 per Ac/Ft. the

$29.80/acre-foot multiplied by $5,265 ac/ft equals $156,897.

The two-tier contract expires on December 31, 2041. Upon expiry, the 5,256 Ac/Ft of raw water automatically switches to the BRA system tariff.

Hyde said, “The annual cost of 2,400 for 8,800 Ac/Ft of raw water is projected at a system rate of $165/Ac/Ft equating to over $1.4 million. This will triple the annual cost of raw water compared to 2022.”

At a special meeting prior to the workshop, Mayor Spencer Smith proclaimed April 10-16 “Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week.”

Council members then voted unanimously to approve a request for alcohol services from Carolyn Brown for the “Culture on the Square” event on Saturday, April 16 at Carl Levin Park coordinated by Ronnie Russell and the Chamber of Commerce Black Innovation.