Lake Conroe will be providing water to Montgomery County by 2015:
- Montgomery County needs water. Our County is growing rapidly and growth requires water.
- Virtually all of Montgomery County’s residential water today comes from groundwater in our aquifer via water wells.
- Our aquifer has been overused and cannot be allowed to decrease to a level where it endangers that the aquifer will never be able to “recharge” itself. The LSGCD has concluded that the County can no longer draw greater than 64,000 acre feet of water annually from the aquifer, and that any water needs in excess of this must come from surface water (such as Lake Conroe). The U.S. Geological Service is releasing a report before year end which addresses how fast our aquifer is “recharging” itself, and this report will provide data to support (or modify) assumptions made by LSGCD.
- 2015 is the year in which the County will no longer be allowed to draw greater than 64,000 acre feet of water annually from groundwater in our aquifer via water wells.
- In 2015, all County water needs in excess of 64,000 acre feet per year will come from Lake Conroe. Based on current water usage and estimated population growth in the County, water use in the County will approximate 87,000 acre feet annually. The shortfall of 23,000 acre feet (87,000 projected less 64,000 allowed) will equate to about 1 foot of water per year from Lake Conroe(since Lake Conroe covers 23,000 acres and we’ll have a 23,000 acre feet shortfall, the math equates to 1 foot).
- The one foot of Lake Conroe water will be drawn annually from 2015 to 2024. Based on estimated population growth and ignoring alternatives (see “Alternatives” below), two feet of Lake Conroe water will be drawn annually from 2025 to 2034; three feet drawn 2035 to 2044; and four feet drawn 2045 and beyond. The maximum allowable annual draw from Lake Conroe has been set by The State of Texas at 100,000 acre feet.
- A water treatment plant will be built below the dam on Lake Conroe and pipelines connected from that water treatment plant to various locations including, but not limited to, Conroe and The Woodlands. Planning and construction will commence shortly so as to meet the mandated 2015 groundwater reduction deadline. The water treatment plant will be built in units called “trains”, and additional “trains” will be added as additional water is required in each ten year interval described above. The estimated cost of “Phase 1” (2015 operational date) is $400 million. The estimated cost of “Phases 1 thru 4” (2045 operational date) is $2.8 billion. Do not think the construction of the water treatment plant is an option. This construction is a certainty, and only the amount of water needed in the future will dictate the number of “trains” needed and the final cost.