Abilene residents water rates may climb to fund up to $91 million project

Abilene leaders explain waste water plans

ABILENE, Texas - The Abilene City Council is looking at raising your water and sewer bill to fund a huge water treatment project.  

The plan is to upgrade the Hamby Water Treatment Plant so treated affluent water could be put back into Lake Fort Phantom.

Mayor Norm Archibald said the project is not just something the city would like to do. It's something, Archibald said, needed to ensure water for the city's future.

"These are improvements that we believe will help us reclaim about 14 million gallons a day of water that we need desperately for Abilene," Archibald said.

That is no small number when you consider what our area has been facing for several years now.

"We got almost two feet of water recently. That's great, but it doesn't take us out of the drought. We're at 10.3 feet below the spillway, at Fort Phantom, today," Archibald said.

The cost of the project would be $81 to $91 million. That money would come from raising resident's water rates about $10 a month over a three-year period.

It breaks down like this: An increase of about $6-7 this coming October, another $1.42 more in October of 2014 and the last increase of another dollar the following October.

The mayor said the project is a short-range solution for water resources, but the city is also working on long-range plans like the proposed Cedar Ridge Reservoir.

The city is even talking with other cities about the possibility of a water partnership, Archibald said.

The Abilene City Council will take a final vote on the project in September.

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