Collier Materials, dredging in the Llano River, has launched a contingency plan to truck in water for their sand plant operation instead of utilizing the surface water. Courtesy Photo
STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
LLANO — As water flows decrease in the Llano River, city officials and a private company have launched plans in anticipation of more stringent domestic use restrictions and the need for alternative water sources for a nearby sand plant operation.
The city of Llano, which is currently at stage 2 water restrictions, has announced that due to dry conditions the community could soon move into stage 3 restrictions.
Stage 2 limits watering times for certain residential addresses to certain days. Stage 3 would enact mandatory restrictions on landscape watering and allow domestic usage for essential needs.
“The flow of the Llano River is slowing down (due to) lack of rainfall in the right areas”, Llano City Manager Scott Edmonson said. “When you get down to a certain level, it costs more to treat it.”
Lack of rain in areas upstream of the river such as Junction as well as scorching temperatures have contributed to the sense of urgency.
One of the triggers which influences protocols from the city’s Water Conservation and Contingency Plan involves whether water is flowing over the spillway at the Town Lake dam in the heart of the city adjacent to the Texas 16 bridge.
“The flow is critical,” Edmonson said.
A private dredging operation, in partnership with the city, has also launched voluntary alternative water source plans in anticipation of the likely restrictions.
Collier Materials has purchased an 8,000-gallon capacity tanker truck to haul in water to replenish their ponds used for washing and separating dredged materials.
“This is the first time since we’ve been over there that it has gotten critical. We went out and bought this tanker,” Vice President Kevin Collier said. “When it stops flowing over the dam (at the bridge), we start bringing in our own water source.”
The private mining company, which has a sand plant on the west side of the city on Texas 29, brokered a deal with the city initially to dredge an area adjacent to the dam to increase the municipality’s water holding capacity.
Once that project was complete, the company then moved farther upstream.
“They’ve been very helpful to us,” Edmonson said. “They work with us real well.”
Collier and the city have discussed the potential for the mining operation to utilize excess treated effluent the city typically uses to water the municipal golf course as restrictions become more stringent.
“If they have water (treated wastewater) left over after watering their city golf course, we can use it,” said Collier of the potential water source for contained ponds.
City officials say they hope Mother Nature offers some relief.
“We’re going to pray for rain at Junction,” Edmonson said.
He also encourages residents to do their part and adhere to the contingency plan.
“We’re not trying to alarm anybody but we want people to be prepared,” Edmonson said. “This can always happen when you rely on surface water and don’t have the source flowing.”