CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy) - There is relief in sight for City of Katy residents who are currently under mandatory water restrictions, but additional water won't be available until 2025.
A massive water pipeline from Lake Houston to the Katy Area is under construction. Construction design started in 2016, and the pipeline is now in the Barker Cypress Road area. The pipeline will be 55 miles with two large pump stations. Pipes will vary in diameter from 96 inches to 42 inches, depending on the pipeline segment.
Once operational, it will provide an additional 3.6 million gallons of water per day to the City of Katy. It will also provide water to dozens of municipal utility districts along its path. Katy is at the end of one section of the pipeline. Another section ends in Fort Bend County in the Mission Bend area.
City of Katy Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris says there would be no water restrictions in the city if the pipeline were operating now.
"We'd be in great shape," Harris said.
The West Harris County Regional Water Authority partnered with the North Fort Bend Water Authority to reduce subsidence or ground sinking caused by excessive groundwater pumping. The goal is to use less groundwater and more surface water. A secondary benefit is that more water would be available to places like Katy with a growing population and higher demand.
On July 21, City Engineer David Kasper wrote to the West Harris County Regional Water Authority, making it known that the City of Katy would purchase water from the pipeline as soon as it is available.
"If the pipelines are completed sooner, then the city will gladly receive surface water supplies at any time earlier than 2025 if they were to become available," Kasper wrote.
Katy and many other parts of Harris County must convert to 80 percent surface water supply by 2035. Most of the City of Houston has already converted to surface water. Now, surrounding areas must follow suit in meeting these State of Texas mandates.
Currently, impact fees are being added to residents' water bills because the conversion has not occurred.
"The longer we go without surface water, the impact fees go up," Harris said.
Once the pipeline begins providing water from Lake Houston, Harris says the city will use a mixture of surface and groundwater for its residents.
The City of Houston will provide water purification services before the water enters the pipeline.