Assistant City Manager Answers Scott Griggs's Questions About Saving, Selling City's Water

November23DallasWaterReservoirs.JPG
A couple of weeks back, during those water conservation and watering restriction briefings, council member Scott Griggs had a few questions for Dallas Water Utilities Director Jody Puckett that she wasn't prepared to answer, among them: Is the city presently selling water to gas drillers, and, be honest, how much water will we really save by going to Stage 1, twice-a-week watering restrictions during the winter? She had some idea about the latter: "Will we save 5 percent?" she said. "Maybe not." The exact answer, per a memo Assistant City Manager Forest Turner sent to council at the end of last work week: "About 3.8 percent of budgeted sales." Which is about what Griggs guesstimated ... which is why he pushed City Manager Mary Suhm to call for Stage 2 restrictions December 12 ... which isn't going to happen.

Concerning that gas drilling question, and how much of the city's water supply is being used for fracking, Turner says in that same memo:
The only current contract for gas drilling is with Carizzo Oil & Gas for a maximum 80 million gallons (MG) annually, which was approved by City Council in June 2010. The contract is for raw water to be taken from either Lake Ray Roberts or Lake Lewisville and is for a term of three (3) years. ... Water sales under this contract are charged at the City's non-interruptible water rate, currently $0.4718 per 1,000 gallons. Carizzo is required to pay for a minimum of 40 million gallons annually. Based on the last reporting period their usage was 12.6 million gallons for FY11. (This amount represents about 0.01% of the total water sales in FY11.)

Regarding restrictions during a drought, the contract is subject to water conservation and drought conditions per Chapter 49 of the Dallas City Code and allows for restricted withdraws in accordance with Drought Contingency Plan. The Drought Plan primarily addresses "non-essential water uses" such as landscape watering and wash-down of hard surfaces such as sidewalks, but does not specifically address restrictions for commercial, institutional or industrial uses.
Turner attached the water-supply presentation given to the city's Gas Drilling Task Force two months ago; that, along with the rest of his A's for the council's Q's, follows. So too does this bonus: the latest citywide code compliance report card. Spoiler: Northwest and Southwest Dallas need to work on their grades. Memos 11.23

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6 comments
Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

THE EPA SAYS to prevent Global warming all TEXAS LAWNS Must be watered twice a week day and four times on Sunday....

There you go water problem solved

Montemalone
Montemalone

I can't wait til this time next year, after another scorching, rainless summer. Lakes ( or reservoirs, if you must ) will be a whole lot lower. What then? Will Mary just tell us all to drink tea?

TimCov
TimCov

Why isn't everybody under stage 1 water restrictions all the time? You do not need to water your lawn more than twice per week.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

A couple of interesting observations/questions:

1)  Large commercial users (over 1 million gallons/month) of water in the City of Dallas receive huge discounts versus typical residential users ($2.29 per thousand versus $3.35 per thousand).  Why is that?  It seems like raising water rates for large commercial users might do more to increase conservation than forcing restrictions on residential users only.

2)  Residential consumers of large amounts of water (say, 15,000 gallons per month) living in municipalities that are served by Dallas Water Utilities, but not in the City of Dallas, tend to be charged less for their usage then City of Dallas residents.  Why is that?  It seems like the citizens of Dallas are, in effect, underwriting a water utility system that encourages urban sprawl.  Why should a large residential consumer of City of Dallas water that lives in the suburbs pay more than someone living within the city limits? 

3) How does the City of Dallas get compensated for taking on all the risk associated with running one of the largest water systems in North Texas?

DallasDrilling
DallasDrilling

Questions:1. So when we say 'raw water' from Lewisville.... don't we get raw water from Lewisville that travels to the treatment plant then we get to drink the raw water that has been purified?Is there a separate pool of raw water in the lake only for those transactions?

2. How does this rate stack up to other industrial uses such as Texas Instruments? Higher? Lower? The millions that they use on a regular basis is recycled into the hydro cycle. This water used in fracking is not recycled. It's permanently gone.

Clarification please. Thanks.

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