As far back as November 2005 Cielo Springs residents complained of low water pressure in the gated community developed by Colonel Lee Roper south of Blanco on Highway 281. A Blanco County News article from that time reports that residents William Elliott and Gerry Matheney came before city council to protest water pressure as low as 20 pounds per square inch (PSI). Under duress to improve the water pressure or risk losing approval from the city to construct the fourth phase of Cielo Springs, Roper agreed to amend his contract with the city so that the pumping station under construction at that time would be “a temporary solution,” to be replaced by a stand pipe when development required 80 connections or within three years.
In February 2006, according to a Blanco County News article, “Council approved a water system infrastructure project designed to meet forecast increases in demand. The project involves construction of a new 200K-gallon water storage tank and associated subsystems on the south side of Blanco, where additional residential and commercial development is expected.” J. R. Newman, then spokesperson for Stallion Estates, Inc. explained “that the tank will be constructed on Cielo Springs property and will serve ‘whatever development the city needs it to serve.’”
Fast-forward to November 2010. At the November 9 meeting of city council, Mayor Homan pledged to get a solution to the continuing problem of low water pressure in Cielo Springs, resulting in “Out of Service” signs placed on hydrants in the community (See November 10 Blanco County News.) Both Col. Roper’s representative Dale Yates and Blanco Public Works Director Nathan Cantrell stated that a standpipe, or water storage tank, would not be high enough anywhere in Cielo Springs to function efficiently. According to Cielo Springs spokesperson Ron Knight, there are currently 56 houses in the development, far from the 80-connection minimum.
In response to residents’ pleas, a committee composed of Mayor Chuck Homan, council member Danny Ray, Fire Chief David Hotz, and Public Works Director Nathan Cantrell, met with a delegation of Cielo Springs residents Rod Knight, Bernadette Elliott, and Guy Sutherland on Friday, November 19, along with Roper representative Dale Yates. The result of the meeting was satisfactory to spokesperson Rod Knight, who explained the details of the agreement in a phone interview. As part of a “modified and upgraded system,” a third transfer pump will be installed at the Blanco water plant to increase the pressure of water to Cielo Springs. Subject to TCEQ approval, the pump should be operational by March 1. “We’re satisfied until March 1,” said Knight philosophically. The contract between Colonel Roper and the city of Blanco for an elevated storage tank “will never expire,” according to Knight. He said residents have asked for a copy of it, which Cantrell said City Engineer Marvin Reavis has and will get them a copy. “So far it’s a temporary fix until there are more houses,” said Knight.
In response to resident concerns about the hydrants, Knight explained that Chief Hotz has promised to do a plat of all hydrants in the development and to put reflective markers on each side of the hydrants. Only two hydrants still have signs on them, but they are truly non-functional, said Knight.