LCRA, water

Major stories will play out during 2013 over Rockdale area

I t’s traditional for news organizations to do “year enders,” stories that wrap up the past 12 months neatly every time a Jan. 1 rolls around.

Unfortunately, news stories don’t follow the calendar, don’t play themselves out in 365 days. Often the night of Dec. 31-Jan. 1 catches them right in the middle.

That’s what happened Monday night with what might be a milestone for the Rockdale area and what might also be a footnote to the Alcoa Era, which we can now pretty safely say was 1952 to 2008.

It looks as if the biggest story of 2012 was the August announcement that the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) has reached an agreement to buy the land at Alcoa’s Rockdale Operations.

The giant river authority has had a positive impact on, and an excellent relationship, with, many communities in Texas. It has developed numerous recreational facilities, and manages the spectacular Highland Lakes.

As we head into 2013 we will find out just what shape the LCRA presence will take in the Rockdale area. Or, indeed, if there will be one at all. Alcoa and LCRA are in the midst of an exhaustive “due diligence” phase which will eventually determine whether the land sale will happen or not.

It’s obvious that water will play a major role in LCRA’s plans and, indeed, in Milam County’s future.

LCRA has set a goal of acquiring an additional 100,000 acre-feet of water within the next five years. LCRA’s news release announcing the Alcoa land sale notes that the property “has significant surface water rights and is situated atop a prolific groundwater aquifer.”

The “nuts and bolts” of pumping that water, and moving it out of the water conservation district currently composed of Milam and Burleson counties will no doubt make an interesting story for Reporter readers through 2013 and beyond.—M.B.

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