Fellow citizens,

This will be published in Good Friday’s newspaper and I wish all who celebrate Christ’s sacrifices for us a wonderful Easter weekend. May God bless us in this city, each and every one of us.

These notes will for the most part deal with our fresh water situation in Van Alstyne. The good news is that we have passed through our recent emergency. Water well #5 did go down, but it will be repaired. Well 5 is our biggest producer and it suffered some major damage, and it will be expensive to get it going again. The topic was taken up by the city council this past meeting on April 11. The water supply that we have been planning for a long time now — the reservoir water supplied by the Greater Texoma Utility Authority (GTUA) — had been made safe and was ready to be added to our system. There are some system components that will be needed to complete all aspects (mainly quantity monitoring) of the new supply system, but we now have some idea of what you may expect from a mix of well water and surface water supplied by GTUA. Some of you noticed some difference that came along with this new mix.

I wrote an email to Mr. Drew Satterwhite, general manager of the GTUA who oversees the maintenance of the GTUA waterline, asking what accounts for differences in taste, hardness and other consumer concerns about well water versus reservoir (surface) water. He quickly replied with a concise and excellent response. I will paraphrase his response in these notes: The surface water is harder than our well water. It contains higher concentrations of calcium and magnesium. These minerals, and the higher chloride content make the water taste different and feel different in the bath. Furthermore, summer and winter algae blooms in the summer and winter may alter the taste, though another agency, the North Texas Municipal Water District, has upgraded their treatment facilities with ozone disinfection which will mitigate the taste and color differences.

I’m afraid that the inclusion of reservoir water in our system is going to be a fact of life. Our city council, administration and engineers have been planning this inclusion for years. Our wells and water table have already been used to their maximum capacity and our population is still growing. Luckily, the State of Texas has had the foresight to continue to develop reservoirs that will provide plenty of water, and perhaps allow the recharging of our water tables, so that the vital fresh water supply will continue.

I hope this is helpful for you. I wish you all the best.

Yours truly,

Mayor Larry Cooper