City Hall

Assistant City Manager Answers Scott Griggs's Questions About Saving, Selling City's Water

A couple of weeks back, during those water conservation and watering restriction briefings, council member Scott Griggs had a few questions for Dallas Water Utilities Director Jody Puckett that she wasn't prepared to answer, among them: Is the city presently selling water to gas drillers, and, be honest, how much water will we really save by going to Stage 1, twice-a-week watering restrictions during the winter? She had some idea about the latter: "Will we save 5 percent?" she said. "Maybe not." The exact answer, per a memo Assistant City Manager Forest Turner sent to council at the end of last work week: "About 3.8 percent of budgeted sales." Which is about what Griggs guesstimated ... which is why he pushed City Manager Mary Suhm to call for Stage 2 restrictions December 12 ... which isn't going to happen.

Concerning that gas drilling question, and how much of the city's water supply is being used for fracking, Turner says in that same memo:

The only current contract for gas drilling is with Carizzo Oil & Gas for a maximum 80 million gallons (MG) annually, which was approved by City Council in June 2010. The contract is for raw water to be taken from either Lake Ray Roberts or Lake Lewisville and is for a term of three (3) years. ... Water sales under this contract are charged at the City's non-interruptible water rate, currently $0.4718 per 1,000 gallons. Carizzo is required to pay for a minimum of 40 million gallons annually. Based on the last reporting period their usage was 12.6 million gallons for FY11. (This amount represents about 0.01% of the total water sales in FY11.)

Regarding restrictions during a drought, the contract is subject to water conservation and drought conditions per Chapter 49 of the Dallas City Code and allows for restricted withdraws in accordance with Drought Contingency Plan. The Drought Plan primarily addresses "non-essential water uses" such as landscape watering and wash-down of hard surfaces such as sidewalks, but does not specifically address restrictions for commercial, institutional or industrial uses.
Turner attached the water-supply presentation given to the city's Gas Drilling Task Force two months ago; that, along with the rest of his A's for the council's Q's, follows. So too does this bonus: the latest citywide code compliance report card. Spoiler: Northwest and Southwest Dallas need to work on their grades.

Memos 11.23

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky