Commentary

Water district board, manager doing good job

The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD) includes Milam and Burleson counties. Its 10-member board, five from each county, is appointed by the commissioners courts.

I have tried to attend as many of the monthly meetings of the board as possible and become familiar with the groundwater issues of our area and of the state.

It is a very big and complex subject and a very hot topic, so if I had any sense at all I would leave it alone.

I don’t claim to be an expert, in fact, I won’t even claim to be right. I’m not going to try to explain the rule of capture or the other relevant laws and regulations.

Gary Westbrook, district manager, is available to make presentations to help familiarize your group or club with this topic.

You may also go to the district’s web site at http://www.posgcd.org for more information.

It’s my opinion the board of directors, along with Gary, have us going in the right direction. Their current policy of issuing permits to everyone that applies and is qualified makes sense.

In fact, the legislation that was passed this session confirms that to deny a landowner the right to pump water is against the law.

The statement that our district has issued more permits than there is water available makes it sound like the aquifers are going to be pumped dry. This is misleading.

The amount of water which is permitted does not affect the aquifer, rather it is the amount of water actually produced that matters.

The permits state that if levels drop to certain specified limits, all permits will be reduced accordingly to protect against overuse.

As I understand it, the reality is that it will be many years before we even come close to that being a problem.

I’ll work with Gary to try to make more data available to you in weeks to come to keep you more aware of conditions down under. The law also allows for transport fees to be assessed on any water moved out of the two-county area.

This law needs to be modified to expand allowable use by the counties of the funds generated by these fees for infrastructure such as permanent roads and rural water lines.

These transport fees can become a major tool for the counties with the water reserves to use to generate revenue to benefit our citizens, it could even be a deterrent to excessive exports.

Even more important in all this is the right of the landowners to benefit from the water that is under their property without undue interference from the government.

Finally regarding the election vs. appointment of board members, I can go either way (good political answer, right?).

Our board members are currently appointed, and a recent newspaper editorial is correct, I do prefer that they be appointed.

I don’t know about the assertion that my reason being that I like the power; I’m getting too old for that, but particularly since the law requires that one board member be an agricultural producer, one must represent municipal interests, one an industrial representative, one an employee or director of a rural water supply corporation, and one an at large member; this gives us a good cross sectional representation.

With the five of us commissioner’s court members picking this gives you further representation from the four corners of the county.

At any rate we will try to rotate the members this time around and do our best to select solid taxpaying citizens of our community that will best represent the interests of Milam County citizens.

I may not always be right, but I always have an opinion. dbarkemeyer@milamcounty.net


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2011-11-03 digital edition



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


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