Sunrise Beach Village Mayor Chellie Stewart gives a thorough presentation on the city’s water system needs to the Llano County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Monday, Sept. 12. After listening to the mayor, commissioners voted to award $301,448 of American Rescue Plan Act funds to the city. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
Sunrise Beach Village is getting $301,448 of American Rescue Plan Act funds to improve its water system after the Llano County Commissioners Court approved the money during its regular meeting Monday, Sept. 12.
The upgrades will bring the city into full compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and ensure stable water services for the growing community.
“The fact that the Commissioners Court approved this for us was a huge win for our city,” Mayor Chellie Stewart said.
Sunrise Beach Village is out of compliance with a TCEQ regulation that mandates a city have 200 gallons of water storage capacity for every metered tap. The city has 1,040 metered taps, meaning 208,000 gallons of storage capacity is necessary for compliance. At present, the city only has 113,000 gallons of water storage capacity.
This deficiency was highlighted during the winter storms of 2021, when power outages prevented pumps from functioning and the city’s water stores were depleted.
“We had done everything we could on our own around budgets, around contractor negotiations, around hiring, and around training,” Stewart said. “This was kind of the last piece of the puzzle that we weren’t able to solve on our own.”
Sunrise Beach Village will match the funds from the county for a total of $602,896 going toward the project. The vast majority of the money will be used to install large storage tanks, while a smaller portion will be spent to repair and replace 1,060 feet of aging, iron water lines that are causing water pressure issues across the city.
The city is also seeking to meet a water management rule of thumb that states a water supply should have enough storage capacity to provide water for 24 hours based upon a city’s highest day usage in case of an emergency.
On July 4 of this year, 355,000 gallons were reportedly used — over triple the amount of the city’s current storage capacity. Stewart noted significant water pressure issues over the Fourth of July weekend.
The mayor was sworn into office on May 17 this year after running on a platform of improving Sunrise Beach Village infrastructure. By May 19, she had met with Llano County Commissioner Pct. 1 Peter Jones, who informed her of the available ARPA funds.
“It seems like a pretty high need as far as Sunrise Beach is concerned,” Jones said.
According to Stewart, the permanent population of Sunrise Beach is 800, but on weekends, when people occupy their vacation homes, that number goes over 2,400.
The city will move forward immediately on acquiring adequate storage tanks and installation, but supply chain issues could interfere with a timely installation. Stewart noted that a generator ordered for the city 18 months ago has yet to arrive.