Multi-million dollar water facility upgrades on the way - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Multi-million dollar water facility upgrades on the way

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AMARILLO - Amarillo residents are paying for millions of dollars of water facility upgrades and more are on the way.

Thursday the city was approved for a $1.3 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board to plan and design a new water transmission line.

Amarillo will take out $16 to 18 million more in loans from the State Drinking Water Revolving Fund when they actually start construction in 2015.

"These loans are paid off with revenues from water and sewer bills," said Director of Utilities Emmett Autrey. "We don't have any tax money involved."

Residents are already paying back $80 million used to build the Potter County Wellfield, and with the new pipeline, millions of gallons of water from that well can be distributed across the city.

The new pipeline will start at the Osage Water Treatment Plant and end at the Arden Road Pump Station.

Autrey says the upgrades are essential because of Amarillo's growing population, and Gary Papay with the Amarillo Association of Realtors agrees.

"There are a lot of areas that the city is just now developing, and it's going to continue predominately to the southwest," Papay said.

Papay says the number of empty plots to build on is quickly disappearing, but the city commission is working on making sure that doesn't hinder growth.

"Very progressive," Papay said. "The city is moving forward, as far as building new areas of town."

The city welcomes the growth, and any kind of growth requires water.