POSGCD board okays $1.8-million budget

MILANO—The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District board of directors, meeting in regular monthly session Tuesday, approved a $1,818,500 budget for 2011.

That’s up slightly from the 2010 budget of $1,786,200, according to Gary Westbrook, general manager.

Westbrook said district fees remain the same. He said no one spoke at public hearings on the budget and fees prior to the meeting.

WAT ER R IGHTS— Westbrook updated board members on concerns by two rural-oriented groups concerning water rights.

Both the Texas Farm Bureau and the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association are urging legislative action to define ownership rights of ground water.

According to a Farm Bureau press release, Texas law says that the water beneath a property owner’s land belongs to the owner but groundwater districts control it.

The topic is to be discussed at the next legislative session. The Texas Supreme Court is hearing cases that could define the rights of Texas property owners in regard to groundwater.

“Both those groups like the way we (POSGCD) are managing,” Westbrook said. “We are out front on this.”

WARNING— Westbrook gave an update, and a warning, that a state committee might recommend rules changes which could erode some local control in regard to water districts.

“The Sunset Committee looks at state agencies and entities to see if they are functioning as they were intended,” he said. “Some of their recommendations appear to take away local control,” he said. “We need to keep an eye on this situation.”

In other business, the board:

• Heard a report by Michael Turco of the U. S. Geological Survey on Groundwater on cooperative research involving the interaction between ground water and surface water.

• Heard Westbrook repor t three abandoned oil wells off FM 908 in Burleson Count y have been capped, cleaned and are now functioning as monitoring water wells in the Simsboro Aquifer.

• Distributed possible amendments to the district’s management plan.

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