Proposed Use of a Portion of Sandy Creek Park for BCRUA Pumping Station – Project Overview
In 2005, the Cities of Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock initiated planning for a three-phase regional water system to treat and deliver water from Lake Travis to the three Cities for the next 50 years. The entity formed by the three cities to do so is today’s Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority (BCRUA). The first phase of this project (Phase 1), just recently completed and put into service, includes a temporary floating intake located within Sandy Creek, a raw water pipeline, a water treatment plant, and treated water transmission mains capable of delivering 17 million gallons per day (MGD). These Phase 1 facilities are expandable up to 30.9 MGD, at which time the Phase 2 deep raw water intake facilities must be constructed to supply the new treatment plant’s capacity and increasing demand.
Phase 2 of the BCRUA Regional Raw Water Facilities, needed between 2018 and 2020 based on current water demand projections, includes a permanent deep raw water intake, pump station, and tunneled pipeline. The purpose of the Phase 2 facilities is not only to increase the raw water capacity of the regional water supply system beyond 30.9 MGD, but, just as importantly, to provide a deep water intake source for the BCRUA Regional Water Supply System and existing Cedar Park and Sandy Creek Water Plants during prolonged drought conditions. To accomplish this, the Phase 2 Intake must be located near the deep water channel of Lake Travis.
To minimize impacts to both the community and environment from the Phase 2 facilities, the BCRUA performed an extensive site selection process that considered over 50 different alternatives. The primary goal of this process was to select an option that provided the best balance of cost, community impact, environmental impact, and project risk. In 2012, a final alternative (Alternative 4.2) was selected and State/Federal Permits were obtained per Texas Water Development Board funding requirements. The recommended Alternative 4.2 included an intake on the deep-water channel of the Sandy Creek arm of Lake Travis, a pump station in the Village of Volente (Site 4), and a tunneled pipeline between Site 4 and Trails End Road.
Since selection of this alternative, the Village of Volente requested BCRUA to reconsider locating the Pump Station outside the Village due to the close proximity to residential neighborhoods and potential impact to the overall community. After discussions with Volente and further evaluation, BCRUA has reconsidered and determined that Alternative 8 which locates the pump station on an unimproved portion of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Sandy Creek Park outside of Volente, is the most prudent and feasible alternative to reduce this community impact and best implement the project.
Sandy Creek Park is owned by the LCRA and operated by Travis County. It is located near the existing Cedar Park Water Treatment Plant on Lime Creek Road, just north of the Village of Volente. The 25-acre park contains a boat ramp (not currently in operation due to low lake levels), restrooms, barbecue grills, walking trails, and primitive campsites. As indicated on the overall preliminary site plan, the proposed pump station would be located on the southern portion of the park and would require use of the following parcels of existing parkland:
- Pump station site: 1.68 acres
- Staging and construction: 0.80 acres of temporary construction easement
(will revert to park use after completion of pump station)
- Tunneled pipelines: two (2) deep subsurface easements totaling approximately 3.53 acres
(no impact to park surface whatsoever)
The actual pump station will be housed inside a structure designed and built to blend into the environment to the greatest extent possible. Please see these preliminary drawings of what the exterior will look like for a visual depiction: (Pump Station Concept 1; Pump Station Concept 2)
The actual water intake structure from Lake Travis will remain in Volente along the deepwater channel. Water will be conveyed to and from the pumping station at the park via pipelines tunneled far underground. The pumps themselves will be beneath the water’s surface, and it is not anticipated that the project will result in any increase in noise levels at the park or elsewhere.
The temporary construction easement will only be used during construction, and restored afterwards. Any paving within this area disturbed by the project will also be repaired or replaced to an equal or better condition than that existing before the project.
The pipeline tunnel easements will not affect the surface in any way.
A public hearing for BCRUA to consider the matter of using the parkland for this purpose is scheduled for July 17, 2013, at 7:00 p.m., at the City of Cedar Park Recreation Center. The project will be discussed in more detail and planners will be present to address any questions or concerns.
The Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority (BCRUA), a partnership of the cities of Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock, has a responsibility to provide reliable, cost-effective sources of water for their fast growing jurisdictions. If the cities do not develop a new regional water supply system, resources will not be adequate in three to seven years, jeopardizing the health, safety, and quality of life for residents and negatively impacting the region’s economic future. In a time of rapid growth, communities must cooperate to ensure an adequate water supply for everyone.
A Regional Solution
The BCRUA has designed a regional water supply solution that makes sense. Not only is it more cost-efficient and environmentally sound, it also provides a solid foundation for local businesses and the well-being of residents in all surrounding communities. Moreover, our regional strategy is in line with the policies of the Texas Water Development Board and the Lower Colorado River Authority’s water management plan.
The three cities have been seeking solutions to providing long-term water supplies for several years. The Sandy Creek arm of Lake Travis is the current site of Cedar Park’s and Leander’s intake structures. However, this area of the lake is vulnerable to low lake levels. In fact, the need for a deep-water intake along the main channel of the lake became critical during the drought conditions of the past few years. If those drought conditions had not ended with recent rains, the two cities’ current intake structures would have been “grounded”, meaning they literally would not have been able to draw any water from the lake. That realization caused city leaders to accelerate planning for a comprehensive water supply system.The BCRUA plans to develop the water system in three phases.