The Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD), to offset some of the costs which are incurred in 2006, is planning to construct a 2 megawatt (MW) hydroelectric plant where its pipeline releases water just above Lake Arlington. The plant, which is in the design phase, needs to have a federal approval and wouldn’t come online for at least two years. But it could raise about $1 million per annum. In 2006, TRWD spent $28 million to pump water from East Texas.

There are some benefits for generation, said David Marshall, engineering services director. It would help reduce our carbon footprint, and the project is such that it would pay for itself.

We’re extremely conscious of how much energy we use, because our carbon footprint is enormous, Marshall said.

TRWD has already put its teams on four-day weeks. It has changed most of its pumps over the past six years, improving efficiency by 10% and saving $1 million per annum.

Marshall said the district will continue to find ways to offset pumping costs but said they will never go away.

We’ve bought some of our power from renewable sources, but 85 percent of our water lies 75 miles away and we have to pump it up an elevation gain of 405 feet, Marshall said.

It’s inevitable we’re going to use more and more power, he said. What we’re trying to do is take the best advantage of rainfall, knowing in dry years the water has to come from East Texas.