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After years of planning and preparations, drilling is now underway for a new water well to service the City of Athens, Athens Municipal Water Authority Executive Director Ed Gatlin said Friday.

Powder River Well No. 1 represents a major addition to the Athens water system.

"Our hydrologist is on site and watching day to day operations at the well," Gatlin said. "He will give us reports and keep us up to date."

Over the past few years, AMWA drilled eight test wells on property off Farm-to-Market Road 2495 to give Athens a potential water supply for decades. The wells were planned to set the city up to continue to have ample water should the area go through a period of severe drought as was experienced in the early part of the past decade. Water from the new well will connect directly into the water system and will not have to go back to the location where the water is currently brought into the system.

Gatlin said preparations for drilling included building the concrete pad and constructing a road to the site.

"I think this new road will enable the city to get to the site without going across anyone else's land," he said.

AMWA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1957. It became a municipal utility district in 1979, with its main function supplying drinking water for the city of Athens.

Well water was important to the Athens supply in June as work was needed on the part of the system that draws water from Lake Athens to the Water Treatment Plant. Director Randy Williams said Friday the repairs would take from two weeks to about a month.

The underground wells were used to make up for the lack of water drawn from the lake. Athens Utility The total used from the underground wells was 52.6 million gallons for the month.

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