Our Water: City of San Angelo approves Ford Ranch sale


Water rights secured for city, enabling future growth

SAN ANGELO, Texas – UPDATE: The city of San Angelo purchased the 32,000 acre Ford Ranch in 2017 to secure water rights to the Hickory Aquifer. Almost four years later, the city has 15 wells in place with plans for five more. The city borrowed money to purchase the land, so the sale of Ford Ranch will allow San Angelo to pay off that debt. This in turn will allow the city to budget and plan for improvements to water treatment plants, which still function but are aging. Easements will be built into the land sales contracts to give the city access to the wells. The city says eight million gallons of water can be pumped daily from the Hickory Aquifer, with plans to expand that capacity to 12 million as the city grows.

ORIGINAL: On Tuesday, Feb. 2, City Council authorized the City of San Angelo to negotiate a sale of the nearly 20,000 acres remaining of the Ford Ranch to Lendon Hamlin for a price no less than $1,385 per acre.

Ford Ranch is a property in Melvin, Texas totaling 32,841 acres when first acquired by the City in 2017. The ranch was originally purchased for approximately $44 million, or $1,350 an acre, by the City as a means to protect San Angelo’s rights to the Hickory Aquifer – which is located on the property – and the $120 million investment made developing the aquifer as a source of drinking water.

“Purchasing the Ford Ranch allowed us to protect water rights to the Hickory Aquifer which, accompanied with all of our other water sources, helps secure our community’s water supply for generations to come,” Mayor Brenda Gunter said.

All transactions in the sale of the Ford Ranch property protected the City’s water rights to the Hickory and the development investment.

San Angelo relies upon O.C. Fisher, O.H. Ivie and Twin Buttes reservoirs, Lake Nasworthy and the Hickory Aquifer as water sources.

“Since the City of San Angelo purchased Ford Ranch, our goal has always been to secure our water rights and sell the ranchland back to private owners,” said Water Utilities Director Allison Strube. “Thanks to City management, City Council and our brokerage team at King Land & Water, we were able to accomplish that.”

There have been five other sales from March 2020 to September 2020:

· 853 acres for $1,500 an acre to Riverbend, Texas LLC and High Point Ranch Expansion LLC

· 324 acres for $1,385 per acre to a neighboring property owner

· 587 acres for a price $1,950 per acre to Adam and Kimberly Ellisor

· 2,830 acres for $1,400 per acre to Neil Tinsley

· 8,236 acres for $1,400 per acre to Korban Ranches LLC

Courtesy: City of San Angelo Public Information Division

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