Get Wet With This Look at City's Request For "2070 Water Supply Plan" Consultant

Dallas Water Utilities Planning Area.jpg
Click to enlarge the map of neighbors to whom Dallas sells its water.
It didn't come up last Wednesday, when the council talked about saving and selling Dallas's water. But there was a brief mention made ago, during that chitchat concerning the city's long-range water-supply plan, the most recent of which was done six years ago. Says right there on Slide No. 41: "Seek engineering contract to identify Dallas' water planning needs to the year 2070 using 2010 population numbers."

So happens, the city stuck out its dowsing rod for that consultant just last Thursday. I found the request for quotation moments on the city's woefully antiquated bids website. (Hmmm, "Swiss Avenue Median Improvements" -- had no idea.) The RFQ's a long one too, as you'll see on the other side. Among its myriad highlights: the map showing quite clearly to whom Dallas sells its treated and untreated water; the demand to identify "potential reservoir sites that may be still feasible" and evaluate "the impact of regulations regarding current or future invasive species such as Zebra mussels in order to determine if water can be delivered between reservoirs"; and the note that the winning bidder should take into consideration "possible climate change (hotter, drier weather scenarios)."

From the RFQ, this intro:
The Consultant shall update the population and water demand projections, including any impact on water conservation on demand planning, examine development plans and land use assumptions for the current planning area as these could impact demand, identify future potential water supply sources, compare existing alternative supply sources, identify future demands and needs of the treatment facilities and distribution infrastructure, and to recommend a plan of action that will allow the DWU to provide for the needs of its customers up to the year 2070 and possibly beyond. A continual goal of DWU is to maintain a high level of service to DWU customers by minimizing risk to the various DWU infrastructure systems and the Utility as a whole. For this report, the consultant must work with DWU to define risk factors and areas of associated risks as they apply to the DWU water supply system.
This would be the city's sixth such long-range water supply plan, the first coming in 1959 following the historic drought of record by which all others have been measured since. RFQ for Dallas Long Range Water Supply Plan

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Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Here is a link to the City Hall briefing that explains the role of Dallas Water Utilities in North Texas:

The other day, Mary Suhm really seemed to downplay this, but the City of Dallas effectively acts as the water supplier for a substantial amount of the metroplex (roughly 30 municipalities).Moreover, last year Suhm and Perkins negotiated a master agreement with all of these entities which appears to allow Dallas to only recover 1.5% of the cost of this system in excess of "the embedded interest rate" as compensation for the substantial risk and unreimbursed overhead associated with running this mammoth entity.

Interestingly, the City of Dallas appears to lack control over any "harmonization" of water rates across its member cities, and that appears to be coming into play in the current drought.  From a conservation standpoint, it is interesting to note that at least some of the suburban clients of Dallas appear to be charging their residents LESS than the City of Dallas is charging its residents for incremental water usage, which gives them LESS incentive to conserve than Dallas city residents.

Using an average 6,000 gallons per month as a "base line" for typical residential consumption, City of Dallas residents pay $3.35 for each additional 1,000 gallons of usage.  In contrast, Addison residents only pay $2.28; DeSoto - $3.05; Grand Prairie - $3.16; Farmers Branch - $3.17; etc...

Although it is hard to obtain the rates that various districts are charging municipalities for their water, it appears that Dallas water is cheaper than that coming from the City of Fort Worth and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.  Flower Mound, for example, purchases water from both the City of Dallas and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.  However, it "attempts to maximize its use of (Dallas Water Utilities) water because of its lower cost." source: 

Viewed from another perspective, it would seem that Dallas Water Utilities is facilitating urban sprawl and movement outside the City of Dallas by providing cheap water to surrounding suburbs.

Also, a review of the City of Dallas' water rate schedule suggests that parties using City of Dallas water for fracking purposes pay a bargain rate of $2.29 per 1,000 gallons, compared to the typical incremental cost of water paid by City residents of $3.35.

Finally, although there have been calls to charge large residential water users higher amounts, the City rate schedule suggests that the City is already doing that, so I'm a little confused.


The city says that they have or would sell untreated water to the gas drilling industry. Looking at the map, the blue shows me 'treated water' in areas to our West and Northwest that currently have active drilling. I would like to hear from the DWU if the City of Dallas has any contracts to sell water to the gas industry in those blue areas. What say you, Jody Puckett?


If you have a milkshake and I have a milkshake and I have a straw and my straw reaches across the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!

Hmmm ... Dallas is planning for water needs in the year 2070 .... and people are wondering why the NTMWD is in Stage III water restrictions and DWU is considering Stage I water restrictions due to processing restrictions at a treatment plant.

Texas is a western state with eastern state water laws.

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