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New reservoir on the horizon for 2022

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by Jessi Devenyns

According to the Lower Colorado River Authority, in 2022, Colorado County can expect to have a new freshwater reservoir at its disposal. Called the Prairie Conservation Reservoir, this small 2,000-acre-foot off-channel reservoir is intended to help improve the stability of the fresh water supply for Austin and the surrounding areas. The reservoir will be located on a 1,988-acre tract of land that was purchased in 2015, but the engineers have yet to determine the exact location for construction. This, coupled with the ever-increasing cost of construction caused John Hofmann, LCRA’s executive vice president of water, to explain to the authority’s board of directors last Wednesday that “the (current) cost numbers have a lot of contingencies in them.” Currently, he said, “we’re estimating the construction cost somewhere around $16 million,” he said. According to him, this is a very high-level estimation and is subject to change by 20 percent in either direction. To help offset the expected costs, the LCRA received an $8 million federal partnership award. However, this grant comes with strings. Before construction can begin, the project is required to complete a watershed plan, which Hofmann explained is a “significant undertaking.” Nevertheless, with the engineering and design help of AECOM, Hofmann was confident that the reservoir would be up and running by the planned 2022 date.

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