Council spends thousands more on Red Arroyo Project

- A divided city council agreed to spend an additional $111,400 today to continue with an engineering study on the "Red Arroyo Project".

It is a plan to use Red Arroyo River runoff water that collects in a basin near the Fish Hatchery.

"5 places are already out there and this would add a sixth place *if* we get rain," stated City Councilwoman District 6, Charlotte Farmer.

"I don't want to do one at the expense of the other so I think, for the time being, I'm very interested in investing a little bit more time and effort in this," said City Councilwoman District 5, Elizabeth Grindstaff.

City Council approved 4 to 3 for two engineering firms to continue researching the Red Arroyo Feasibility Project.

This project all comes down whether it rains. Right now, the basin between South Chadbourne by the Fish Hatchery and Avenue K does not appear to have any water in it. The firms' study would determine how to use the basin to capture more rain water and runoff from the Red Arroyo.

Chuck Brown works for Upper Colorado River Authority. He said this project could  provide a third of the city's total water supply per year.

"Let's say we can divert 5-thousand-acre feet (of water) a year. We believe it's there," Brown stated.

But, the water is not a sure thing. The first survey of the area in March only proved the city could capture the water there. To date $130,000 have been spent on the project. Now,m over $111,000 are being spent to discover how the city would gather the water.

"It does not have a lot of engineering work associated with it. It's just a plan so to speak," said city Water Utilities Director, Ricky Dickson. "You know, we've got this area of land and the Red Arroyo flows by. Could we capture some of that?"

Some councilmembers made clear spending thousands more dollars is too much of a risk for a project where the city doesn't know how many inches of water the basin can capture.

"I'm not sold on the idea at all. so, I'm going to go on record and say I am totally, totally against this project," finished City Councilman District 3, Johnny Silvas.

City council also agreed to increase water usage fees starting Tuesday, May 20th. The fees kick in when an individual customer uses more than 8,000 gallons of water a month. An average household in the city uses an average of 6,000 gallons of water per month.

Click this document to read the new, changed water rates.

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