Back-up power project first step in updates to Bell County water system
BELL COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) - The right thing to do is how officials describe the first of some major water updates in Central Texas.
The main water supplier for Bell County, the Water Control Improvement District, is working on a project to provide back-up power to one of its most critical distribution points.
To get an idea of why this will help for the future, a look back at the past needs to happen. During the February 2021 winter storm, some power was lost and WCID could not get enough to run its largest motors.
Then in early May, there was no power again.
“How critical water supply is to so many people, it’s just absolutely the right the to do,” said Ricky Garrett, WCID No. 1 general manager.
Currently, the main water plant in Belton has no back-up power. Now, the board of WCID wants to change that.
“This project has been a long time coming,” said Garrett.
Early May’s outage followed a significant water leak at the Belton plant that also prompted calls to conserve water while it was being repaired.
And during the 2021 winter storm, there was not enough power to allow systems to function properly.
“The demand was so large that had we had 50% stand-by generation available, it wouldn’t have helped us in that situation,” said Garrett.
Now, they are hoping to get a system that would provide full power if there were to be an outage.
The water district has also secured a special categorization with natural gas suppliers, so if another major weather event were to happen, its supply would not likely be stopped.
“Historically, that category has not been interrupted by the gas supplier,” said Garrett.
Now, with a plan in place to add a back-up power supply, WCID must wait to formally get the cities that buy water to approve.
And after that plans are being prepared for other fixes that could mean bell county customers would have to deal with fewer water supply issues in the future.
As of now, the back-up power project is expected to take about two years to complete.
“It’s our job to try to make that water supply resilient and dependable,” said Garrett. “So this project will go a long way towards making that happen.”
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