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Multi-million dollar reclaimed water project could boost Abilene's water supply; but would raise water rates

By Ariana Garza, Weekend Anchor/Crime & Courts Reporter, agarza@ktxs.com
Published On: Jul 25 2013 07:55:58 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 25 2013 08:34:09 PM CDT
Reclaimed water
ABILENE, Texas -

A multi-million dollar project to reclaim water may soon increase utility bills for each month.

Upgrading the Hamby water treatment plant and the infrastructure required, would cost betweens $81 and $91 million dollars. The project would allow treated wastewater to be put back into Lake Ft. Phantom, which is one of the city’s main water sources.

Most of the cost of the upgrade would come through the sale of certificate of obligation bonds.  The bonds would then be paid off by raising water rates.

If the city moves forward, Abilenians can expect to pay about $6 to $7 more on water and sewer bills each month starting October 1. According to Mayor Norm Archibald, that would go up about one more dollar in October 2014 and an additional dollar in October 2015.  

“These are improvements that we believe will help us reclaim about 14 million gallons a day of water that we desperately need for Abilene,” Archibald said. “We are still in a drought and I can’t stress that enough because even with all the great rains--we got almost two and a half feet of water and that's great but it doesn't take us out of the drought.”

City council will take a final vote in September after public hearings.