City of McAllen & Hidalgo Co. Irrigation District No. 1 Reach 'First of Its Kind' Water Agreement

by The Office of Communications and Media Relations | Dec 06, 2013

The City of McAllen Public Utility and the Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 1 reach a 'first of its kind' agreement almost ten years in the making. The contract pertains to the supply and delivery of untreated water from the Rio Grande River by the District to the City. The contract makes available 4,000 acre feet of water to the City of McAllen over the next nine years if needed, with a beneficial stipulation.

"The McAllen Public Utility Board of Trustees is excited for the future of McAllen and its water needs.  We have been working in partnership with Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 1 Board to make this agreement work for both entities," said Charles Amos, McAllen Public Utility Board Chairman.  He added, "At stake is the future growth and prosperity of our area, McAllen Public Utility has always been interested in its future water needs and has taken actions to make sure it happens. This is just one more way to protect our City."

This agreement is the first for the City of McAllen in its history.

Roel "Roy" Rodriguez, P.E. McAllen Public Utility General Manager says, "This contract is very unique because all of our other contracts have a 'take or pay' stipulation; which means, if McAllen doesn't order water from the water districts or McAllen doesn't use the water in any given year, McAllen will still pay for it. This agreement doesn't have it in there.  This is the first of its kind where McAllen pays for what the City uses.  It also shows Irrigation District No. 1 understands the market."

Rusty McDaniel, Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 1 General Manager says, "The partnership between the City and the District could benefit each party well into the future. It's really good for both of us. An important point; the city is growing northward, that's where we are, more and more land of our farmers is being developed which frees up our water for municipalities."

The Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 1 manages over 100,000 acre feet of water, and if necessary the City could have access to anywhere from ten to twenty thousand acre feet. This provides confidence for the Public Utility Board regarding the City's future water needs.

McDaniel believes the agreement with the District provides a second supplier to the growing northern part of the city, McDaniel adds, "We all realize during this drought it's pretty important to have backups."

The agreement looks towards securing the future water needs for the City of McAllen. "This is what we do; every day we talk about, we think about, we plan not for tomorrow but for ten, twenty years down the road. We're always at least thinking about the next generation," says Rodriguez. He added, "We've got a number of years before we need to purchase any water, so this is a celebration."

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