Georgetown, Texas Irrigation System Master Plan and Reclaimed Water Program

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ABSTRACT
The City of Georgetown, Texas is a rapidly growing community located about 30 miles north of Austin in central Texas. Georgetown is situated on the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer, a major groundwater resource in central Texas. The City relies on groundwater resources for about half of its drinking water supply. The other half of its drinking water supply is provided by Lake Georgetown, located about 5 miles west of downtown.

Historically, the City of Georgetown began its current reclaimed water program in 1979 when it started providing recycled water from its San Gabriel Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to nearby Southwestern University for golf course irrigation. This project represents the first known application of reclaimed water over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. Recent upgrades at the San Gabriel WWTP now provide tertiary effluent treatment to meet Type I reclaimed water standards. This has allowed Southwestern University to serve many other athletic fields in addition to the golf course minimizing their potable water demands that formerly served as the irrigation source. The Southwestern University reuse system has operated for over 25 years.

In September 1998, the City applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a Citywide 30 TAC 210.5 water reuse authorization to begin the development of a comprehensive reclaimed water program to supplement their non-potable irrigation needs. This reuse system was intended to augment a previously established groundwater irrigation system to help provide non-potable water for large-scale irrigation demands. On September 1, 1999, the City of Georgetown was issued one of the State’s first 210.5 reuse authorizations. The City has aggressively developed portions of the approved citywide reuse plan to provide irrigation water for San Gabriel Park, Berry Creek Country Club, and Georgetown Country Club among others.

In September 2004, the City began the development of its first Irrigation Water System Master Plan and the related distribution system model. The Irrigation Water Master Plan system model evaluates all known and planned irrigation demands, supply source waters, storage tanks, pump stations, and transmission pipelines. Irrigation flows within the system are modeled for existing conditions, 2015 conditions, and 2025 conditions. The system’s ability to meet expected water demands for these three planning horizons was also evaluated. This Irrigation Water System Master Plan will guide the City of Georgetown as it prioritizes future Capital Improvement Program projects that will sustain its water supplies with the beneficial reuse of reclaimed water.

INTRODUCTION
The City of Georgetown, Texas is a rapidly growing community of about 30,000 residents and is located about 30 miles north of Austin in central Texas. Georgetown is situated on the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer, a major groundwater resource in Texas. The City relies on groundwater resources for about half of its drinking water supply. The other half of its drinking water supply is provided by Lake Georgetown, located 5 miles west of downtown. Historically, the City of Georgetown has utilized ground water resources to meet most of its irrigation customer’s demands by providing untreated ground water. In other instances it has provided treated water (of potable water quality).

The City began its first irrigation system that utilized reclaimed water (highly treated wastewater effluent) in 1979. This initial water reuse system provided reclaimed water to the Kurth-Landrum Golf Course located on the eastern portion of the Southwestern University campus. The source of the irrigation water for Southwestern University golf course was the San Gabriel Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) that is located north of the college campus. This reuse project represents the first known application of reclaimed water over the sensitive Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. Recent upgrades to the San Gabriel WWTP now provide tertiary filter treatment and produces Type I reclaimed water (for unrestricted use) to be used for athletic field irrigation in addition to the golf course irrigation. This application has minimized the potable water demand that was formerly used to irrigate those areas. The Southwestern University reuse system has now been in operation for more than 25 years.

On September 1, 1999, the City of Georgetown was issued one of the first reuse authorizations approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) under 30 TAC 210.5 to begin the development of a comprehensive reclaimed water program to supplement their nonpotable irrigation needs. This reuse system was intended to augment the previously established ground water irrigation system for Sun City Golf Course to help provide non-potable water for large-scale irrigation demands. The City has aggressively developed portions of the approved citywide reuse plan to provide irrigation water for San Gabriel Park and the Georgetown Country Club among others.

The City is now in the process of planning and constructing a reclaimed water system infrastructure that will also include its Pecan Branch and Dove Springs WWTP facilities. With this planning effort, the City is establishing one of the larger water reuse systems among the midsize cities of Texas. In order to most cost-effectively proceed with these ambitions, the City commissioned the preparation of its initial Irrigation Master Plan study to provide a distribution system model of ground water and reclaimed water resources that may be used to meet future irrigation demands and to evaluate the implementation of system capital improvements to accommodate these future demands.

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