Abilene mayor: 'Significant milestone' reached in permitting process for proposed $200 million reservoir

Part of Cedar Ridge Reservoir application process complete

ABILENE, Texas - A significant milestone has been reached in the city of Abilene's effort to build a nearly $200 million reservoir about 35 miles northeast of the city, Mayor Norm Archibald announced Monday.

According to Archibald, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has deemed the city's Cedar Ridge Reservoir Project water rights application "administratively complete."

That means TCEQ has sufficient paperwork to move forward with its review, prompting Archibald to label it one of many noteworthy milestones that the city must achieve in its long-term effort to get the reservoir permitted and built.

"This project is a marathon," Archibald said during Monday's news conference, noting the journey began in 2004 and is solely being done for Abilene's future.

It is "all about our children and our grandchildren," the mayor said.

As proposed, the reservoir would have a surface area of 6,635 across and contain about 74 billion gallons of water. With an about mile-long dam on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, the reservoir would include a transmission pipeline to Abilene.

Archibald said TCEQ's technical review of the city's Cedar Ridge application could now take up to four years. In addition, he said, TCEQ's look is aimed at helping ensure the project won't have "any adverse environmental impacts in the Brazos River Basin."

After that, Archibald said, public notices will be posted and hearings will be held, which could take up to two years.

Meanwhile, Archibald said the next step will be for the city – likely after the first of the year – to file an application for a Section 404 permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to authorize construction of the project.

Corps of Engineers' approval would open the door for "construction of the dam that will begin to impound the water which will make the reservoir for us to take water from," Archibald said.

If the Corps of Engineers grants its permit, along with the TCEQ, the reservoir will take approximately three years to build, Archibald said.

Archibald said it would "take a while for the (reservoir) to fill up."

Construction of the reservoir, under the potential timelines, may not begin until the mid-2020s.

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