El Oso Water Supply Corp., based in Kenedy, is working with developers on Three Rivers’ north side to put in more water lines.
In the triangle roughly bounded by I-37, U.S. 281 and U.S. 72, two developers will be putting in water lines for El Oso at their own expense.
Along U.S. 72, the developer of a large RV park is replacing old 6-inch El Oso line with 8-inch. And, the developer of property south of Love’s truck stop plans to put in 8-inch line to serve his commercial development, according to El Oso officials.
Both developers will be be paying for the lines, which when complete will be owned by El Oso.
David Wallace, general manager of the nonprofit utility, said new water line cost about $100,000 a mile, and each developer will be putting in about 2.5 miles of line.
But, the demand for water is so great in the area because of growth related to the Eagle Ford shale boom, those lines will be at capacity as soon as the projects are built.
The company has also had discussions with the city of Three Rivers to help it with its supply, both Wallace and Three Rivers Mayor James Liska have said.
But, at a bulk rate of $4.12 per thousand gallons, the cost is well above the $1.90 the city charges its customers.
“If they run out of water, we’d be happy to supply them,” said El Oso board President Charlie Pogue.
El Oso said there used to be a connection between the city’s and its water supplies, and they would be happy to create a new one, just in case of emergency.
Wallace said El Oso has an interconnection with the Karnes City under a “gentlemen’s agreement,” in case either supplier has a problem.
El Oso has a “basically unlimited” supply from the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer, Wallace said.
The company is also nearly complete with a $6.7 million project that updated its water treatment plant in Falls City and replaced old cement and asbestos 12-inch supply lines, among other things.
It can treat 2.5 million gallons a day.
Demand for El Oso water is skyrocketing. In 2010, the company delivered just over 143 million gallons to its customers. Through August of this year, it has delivered almost 140 million gallons.
Wallace said oil field related companies and commercial developers are aggressively building south of Kenedy and toward Live Oak County.
“They love Three Rivers because that’s where they believe the center of Eagle Ford activity is,” Wallace said.