A new $3 million reservoir to be built by North Alamo Water Supply Corp. will give the Delta area and Willacy County a much-needed water supply, especially in times of drought.

The 60-acre reservoir is a manmade lake, which will store 120 million gallons of raw water, diverted from the Rio Grande by irrigation districts.

A ground breaking for the reservoir was held recently on the site of the Delta Area Regional Water Treatment Plant, located north of Edcouch.

Steven P. Sanchez, general manager, said the reservoir will help with planning, management, water processing and conservation. The purpose of the reservoir is to provide a ready source for irrigation and potable water, he said.

“The reservoir is good for the community,” Sanchez said. “It will provide stability for operating our water plants and alleviate demand from water diverters, or irrigation districts.

“The reservoir will help us prepare for unforeseen circumstances, such as drought. Farmers work on a time schedule and must have water available when needed.”

The additional water source will not only help farmers, but also the cities of Edcouch, Elsa and La Villa for which North Alamo Water has interconnections with, as well as the community of Monte Alto. The reservoir’s water can also travel farther north and provide a more reliable water source to Willacy County.

North Alamo Water Supply Corp. will not have to depend solely on district irrigation divertors. Water will be available when customers need it, Sanchez said.

“It’s like having your pantry full,” Sanchez said. “In the past, North Alamo Water had to shut down water plants when the irrigation districts could not meet water demand.”

Robert Rodriguez, manager of operations, said the reservoir will assist with water quality. The reservoir is part of the pretreatment process with sediment in the water settling naturally, and operators can also control algae growth, which is harmless but gives water an “earthy” flavor,” he said.

The new reservoir will be the fourth in the North Alamo Water system. The project is part of Phase I of a $46 million Capital Improvement Plan, which is being funded by USDA Rural Development.

Board President Steve Krenek read a message sent from Hunter Hook, vice president of CoBank, a financing partner, headquartered in Colorado: “Co-Bank is proud to be a part of this project with North Alamo Water Supply Corp. We look forward to working with both the USDA Rural Development and North Alamo Water as this project moves forward.

“The future of dependable access to clean water in the region is bright, and we are excited for the people who will count on this reservoir.”

Other projects for the Delta Area water plant include adding a reverse osmosis water treatment plant and possibly two wells. The new plant will increase water production by 2 million gallons daily, for a total production of 10 million gallons daily.

Phase I also includes16-inch and 12-inch transmission lines, which are currently under construction, and a 1-million-gallon water tower in Edinburg.

These projects are part of an expansion of infrastructure to keep up with population growth in the corporation’s service area, which covers nearly 1,000 square miles in rural eastern Hidalgo County, Willacy County, and northwestern Cameron County.