Water Seeks Its Level

A timeline for WTP4

Despite its apparently sudden and controversial emergence last year, in fact, Water Treatment Plant No. 4 has a long, contentious history, stretching back nearly three decades. Here's a basic chronology. – W.D.

Late 1970s: City begins planning a new water treatment plant at Town Lake

1984: City purchases 240-acre Bull Creek site for construction of WTP4

1987: Black-capped vireo listed as an endangered species

1990: Golden-cheeked warbler listed as an endangered species

1993: City purchases Cortaña tract

1996: Federal Balcones Canyonlands Preserve created, to be co-managed by city and Travis Co.; Cortaña incorporated into BCP; WTP4 site at Bull Creek exempted

2001: Utility resumes planning for WTP4

2005: Jollyville salamander nominated for endangered-species listing; city announces decision to close Green Water Treatment Plant

2006, April: City announces plans to build new Green WTP at Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park

June: City Council abandons plan for Green, approves WTP4, approves water-conservation measures

August: BCP committees approve Cortaña construction, with conditions; Environmental Board recommends city continue looking for alternate site; board member Karin Ascot e-mails WTP4 team questioning site-selection process

Aug. 24: City Council approves WTP4 at Cortaña, pending county approval; city threatens to build at Bull Creek if county doesn't approve Cortaña by Sept. 27

Sept. 5: WTP4 team responds to Ascot, without mentioning a potentially viable alternate WTP4 site

Oct. 4: County rejects city proposal to build on Cortaña tract

Nov. 1: Auditor issues report noting the additional Cortaña site not fully reviewed; Ascot was misled

2007, Jan.: City announces it will no longer pursue Cortaña site and begins site work at Bull Creek

2007, Feb.: Jollyville salamander to be considered for endangered-species listing, raising possibility of a lawsuit against plant construction

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  • More of the Story

  • To the Lighthouse

    After 20 years, WTP4 returns to a still unanswered question: Do we need it?
  • Be Water Wise

    You can play a role in holding off the need for a new water treatement plant

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