Recently a sub-committee of our water district met to hash out the plans on how our district would cut back pumping from area aquifers should the need ever arise. The district has within its authority the ability to implement pumping limits in order to protect local aquifers from damage caused by over pumping. This action does not appear to be necessary in the immediate future but if and when it does need to be implemented, who will be cut back and by how much?
The sub-committee is trying to develop the rules that will outline the procedures for these future potential cutbacks. There are a few different set of rules that are on the table for consideration. Some are not so good for the landowners and could harm Robertson County’s future growth.
Remember, the water district was not formed in order to decide who gets water. It is there to protect aquifers.
The current options are as follows:
The first troubling proposal is from City of Bryan Representative Tom McDonald. He proposes that there be three classes of permits (sound familiar?) Historic, Existing Non-Historic, and New permits. The proposal is to cut each back from actual reported production rates by X%, but in a tiered manner such that historic gets cut 1X%, Non-Historic gets cut at 2X%, and the New permits get cut 3X%. This is the plan that would hurt future Robertson County growth, as any new Simsboro water permits would most likely be in Robertson County. So if X = a 5% reduction, those new permits would be cut 15% while Bryan’s Historic permits would only be cut 5%. A third class permit is the result.
The second and more troubling proposal for Robertson County is from College Station Representative Bill Harris. He proposes cutting back all new permits first at the 3X rate. Then if more cutback are needed, start cutting older permits back at 2X. If more cutbacks are still needed then cut the Historic Use permits back at 1X. Again, this creates a third class permit and puts all initial cutbacks on these new third class permits, thus unfairly protecting all of the Bryan and College Station municipal wells from any initial cuts.
The more logical proposal comes from Robertson County Ag representative David Stratta. He proposes simultaneous cuts from actual historic production wells at 1X and Non-Historic wells at 2X. There would be no third class permit category created for new wells, as they would be considered Non-Historic, and the pumping restriction burden would be equally carried by all permit holders with some consideration given in protecting actual historic use.
We need to be sure to avoid creating third class permits during this process. Such an action by our water district would be detrimental to Robertson County’s future growth and to all landowners as a whole. It is not right to punish a landowner who may need a new water permit in the future. Don’t let the water district decide who get water and who does not. It is not their job to decide who owns your property.
Brazos Valley Groundwater Rights Association