State approves blending Hickory, lake water
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has authorized the City of San Angelo to begin blending water from the Hickory Aquifer with water from the City’s surface supply.
The TCEQ authorized the City to begin blending at a ratio of five parts surface water and one part Hickory water. The blending will occur at the City’s water treatment plant. The TCEQ said the 5:1 ratio “will result in a finished water quality that meets the public water quality standards.”
Water Utilities Director Ricky Dickson said the blending will initially occur at a lesser rate so treatment of the water can be fine-tuned.
Dickson stressed the supplemental water from the Hickory will represent a minimal amount compared to San Angelo’s overall water consumption. Even if the City were to maximize the Hickory’s use at the 5:1 ratio, only 2 million gallons of Hickory water would be used for every 10 million gallons of water from O.H. Ivie Reservoir, he noted.
“We need San Angeloans to be as conservative in their water usage as they have been over the past couple of years,” Dickson said. “While the Hickory certainly helps, it is not the silver bullet to our water concerns. The more conservative our customers are with their usage, the farther we can stretch our water supply until we’re blessed with rain.”
The City submitted a request to blend water to the TCEQ, the state’s environmental agency, on Feb. 21. The TCEQ’s mission involves protecting the public health and natural resources, and ensuring clean water.
San Angelo’s available surface water supply is 14 months, assuming no rainfall or runoff during that span. If the water supply dips below 12 months, outside watering would be prohibited under the City’s drought contingency ordinance.
Without rainfall, Ivie Reservoir, San Angelo’s primary water source, is projected to be depleted in November, when construction is scheduled to be complete on a groundwater treatment facility to remove radium and iron from the Hickory water.
To date, San Angelo has received 0.11 of an inch of rainfall this year – more than 3.5 inches below normal. Ivie is at 12 percent and Lake Nasworthy is at 59 percent of their respective capacities.