‘We hear you’

POSGCD board may intervene to give land owners what they seek

The topic of Texas water management is only slightly less complex than the Theory of Relativity but it can sure fill a room in Milam County when people think their wells are about to go dry.

The second of two public hearings to discuss Alcoa’s plans to pump a lot of water from under Milam and Burleson counties was held last Tuesday in Milano.

The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation Board tabled that request. That sounds like non-action but, reading between the lines, what the board really said was a couple of three-word answers.

To the protesting land owners: “We hear you.”

To Alcoa: “What’s the hurry?”

In fact, the positions of those two sides could also be simplified (probably oversimplified) into a couple of brief statements.

The land owners: “Fix it.” (Our wells when they drop.)

Alcoa: “Not by ourselves.”

The word of the night was “mitigation.” That’s been floated several times as a compromise by some land owners who said they would look more favorably on plans by Alcoa (or LCRA who might eventually end up with the water rights) if they could be assured their wells would be restored when and if they dropped or went dry.

The board seemed to put that on the table but as a district-wide plan, not something one company would be required to do. One board member said, in effect, that would take a lot of work. Another said, in effect, “then, let’s roll up our sleeves.”

The POSGCD board has taken its share of hits over this issue. There have even been calls for all 10 board members to resign. Ironically, last Tuesday was the first time the matter has actually been before the board for action, the first time they’ve expressed any kind of public opinions.

And when they took action, at least on Oct. 9, they seemed a lot more like small county land owners than a rubber stamp for a giant corporation.—M.B.

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2012-10-18 digital edition

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