The City of Greenville could be only weeks away from being unable to obtain water from Lake Tawakoni.

The City Council Tuesday gave the go-ahead to a plan to purchase and install new self-priming pumps at the lake.

The proposal, at an approximate cost of $230,000, was the least expensive option among five alternatives presented by consultants. The pumps could also be bought and installed faster than any of the other choices and, as Director of Public Works Massoud Ebrahim pointed out, the city is running out of time.

Ebrahim noted how one year ago, the Council approved a plan to purchase a submersible pump, which would allow the city’s remaining intake on Lake Tawakoni to continue to provide water to fill the municipal reservoir system.

“Lake Tawakoni’s level is going down drastically,” Ebrahim said. “At the present rate, we feel the submersible pump will function another month, maybe another six weeks.”

The submersible pump pushes water toward the city’s intake, but can only operate at a water level of 425 feet or above.

As of Wednesday morning, the lake was reported at a depth of 426.87 feet. The municipal reservoir system can supply water to Greenville’s residents and businesses under normal conditions for about four months.

With the self-priming pumps, the city can continue to obtain water from Tawakoni until the level fell to about 406 feet.

Brian Coltharp with Freese and Nichols said other options included a floating pump station, at a cost of $320,000; gravity piping, at a cost of $430,000; or dredging around either of the city’s lower intakes on the lake, at a cost of up to $3.5 million.

In addition to the cost, the remaining options also would have required obtaining permits and installation which would take between one to nine months. The self-priming pumps, Coltharp explained, could be purchased and be up and running in four to six weeks.

“It is the quickest option out there and is also the most economical,” Coltharp said.

A consensus of the Council gave Ebrahim the authority to proceed with the purchase and installation of the pumps, in the event the lake’s level drops below 425 feet.

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