News

It's (eventually) all in the numbers

Water boards edging toward long-term conservation plan for region
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

WATERBOARDING No, not that kind! These are the voting members of five regional groundwater conservation districts who gathered in Milano last Wednesday for a Groundwater Management Area (GMA) 12 joint planning session. From left, David Van Dresar, Fayette County GCD; Joe Cooper, Lost Pines GCD; Nathan Ausley, Post Oak Savannah GCD (Milam and Burleson counties); Wayne Wilson, Brazos Valley GCD; Robert Gresham, Mid-East Texas GCD; Gary Westbrook (non-voting board secretary), Post Oak Savannah GCD. WATERBOARDING No, not that kind! These are the voting members of five regional groundwater conservation districts who gathered in Milano last Wednesday for a Groundwater Management Area (GMA) 12 joint planning session. From left, David Van Dresar, Fayette County GCD; Joe Cooper, Lost Pines GCD; Nathan Ausley, Post Oak Savannah GCD (Milam and Burleson counties); Wayne Wilson, Brazos Valley GCD; Robert Gresham, Mid-East Texas GCD; Gary Westbrook (non-voting board secretary), Post Oak Savannah GCD. Five area underground water conservation boards are leaving behind the areas of concepts and philosophies and moving toward the realm of numbers.

That's the bottom line from last Wednesday's GMA 12 meeting at the Milano Civic Center in which the five groundwater conservation districts adopted preliminary numbers citing underground water levels they think residents of the region can live with over the next 50 years.

The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD)\, composed of Milam and Burleson counties, submitted a desired future condition (DFC) drawdown of 300 feet for the Simsboro Aquifer.

That's the major water bearing formation under the two counties.

Drawdowns

Other POSGCD drawdowns were listed as follows for the following aquifers: Hooper, 180 feet; Calvert Bluff, 150; Carrizo, 120; Queen City, 40; Sparta, 30.

The other water conservation districts— Brazos Valley, Fayette County, Lost Pines and Mid-East Texas—did the same.

It's a part of a long process, facilitated by the state, which will eventually strike a balance between demand for and the amount of underground water predicted to be available. At least, that's the goal.

The five districts agreed to submit their DFCs (the numbers) to their consulting firms which will, in turn, funnel the numbers to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).

In about three months the TWDB's computer models should let the regional planners know if those numbers are achievable. The goal is to manage the state's water usage so aquifers aren't damaged.

'Triggers'

Board members reminded questioners in the audience the process is fluid, no pun intended.

"This (submission of numbers) is not the be-all, end-all," David Van Dresar of the Fayette County GCD said. "It's the next step."

Directors pointed out the process will be re-visited every five years.

Nathan Ausley, POSGCD board president, said the district's management plan has built-in "triggers," warning signs of aquifer depletion.

Purpose of the Milano meeting was to coordinate efforts between the five districts.

Several questioners said they preferred a system whereby the state's groundwater availability models preceded the setting of "desired future conditions" numbers.


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2009-07-02 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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