MINUTES

REGION H WATER PLANNING GROUP MEETING

10:00 A.M.

MAY 5, 1999

CITY HALL, CONROE, TEXAS

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: James Adams, Chairman, Roosevelt Alexander, John Bartos, Robert Bruner, Robert Eckels, Mark Evans, Mary Alice Gonzalez, Jack Harris, David Jenkins, Carolyn Johnson, Tom Manison, Marvin Marcell, James Murray, Ron Neighbors, Ernest Rebuck, Jack Searcy, Jr., Michael Sullivan, William Teer, Steve Tyler, Danny Vance, C. Harold Wallace.

ALTERNATES: Ron Hudson for Fred Perrenot, and Denis Qualls for Tom Ray.

PRESIDING: James Adams

 

APPROVE MINUTES OF APRIL 7, 1998 MEETING:

Motioned by Danny Vance. Seconded by Carolyn Johnson. Motion carried.

 

FREDERICK PERRENOT RESIGNATION:

Motioned by Judge Evans to table item until formal resignation is received. Ron Hudson to substitute until permanent replacement is named. Michael Sullivan mentioned the position is representing municipalities not the City of Houstonís position. Motion seconded by David Jenkins. Motion carried.

 

REPORT FROM LEGISLATIVE TRACKING SUBCOMMITTEE:

Judge Mark Evans presented legislative report. Ron Lewis to make presentation on cleanup bill for Senate Bill 1. Senator Brown and others sent groundwater legislation to subcommittee until further study completed regarding boundaries of aquifers and county lines.

 

CONSULTANT COMMENTS:

Chairman Adams called for comments on population projections. Jeff Taylor, B&R, said that population water demand numbers were sent for review. Received various comments and questions and responses will be prepared. Population on water demand numbers to be acted upon at next meeting for submittal to the Water Development Board in June. Comment period on this will be closed by May 21.

 

 

Glenda Callaway presented handouts on public meetings and government workshops, and draft press releases, and will be requesting volunteers from the Board to be quoted on media releases. The Texas Water Foundation, established by Senator Brown and others, produced a document, Water Time in Ď99, and set up website to carry water board information.

 

PRESENTATION BY FORT BEND SUBSIDENCE DISTRICT:

Fort Bend Subsidence District made representation on various county interests from densely populated to rural and suburban areas. Fort Bend has no other groundwater management organizations other than the Subsidence District to sound the alarm as problems are observed. Reports and studies indicated that Fort Bend is running out of adequate and high quality groundwater, which means a need for surface water. Fort Bend Subsidence Districtís groundwater management plan is a requirement of Senate Bill 1 and is submitted and filed with the Board to be given consideration in the planning process. The plan has met the conditions that the law and rules of the Water Development Board require.

Mission is to control land subsidence, manage groundwater resources through regulation, conservation, and coordination of suppliers of alternate water sources to ensure adequate quality and quantity of water in the future.

Major water suppliers: City of Houston, Brazos River Authority and Gulf Coast Water Authority. The district measures elevations by satellite, issues permits for withdrawal of groundwater, pursues enforcement when needed to achieve the objectives of the district, and cooperates with surface water suppliers to ensure that there is adequate water supply, participates with districts throughout the region, state, and other local governments to achieve goals, provides public access to information about subsidence, groundwater withdrawal, and actions of the district. Website: subsidence.org.

From Ď87 to Ď95 subsidence is along the Harris County line: Missouri City, Sugar Land, large MUDs. Almost five feet of subsidence in northern edges of Fort Bend along Brazos River has been experienced. The aquifers are the Chicot and Evangeline, with the Chicot showing a decline in the upper part of as much as 150 feet, and The Evangeline 200 feet. By converting to surface water the Chicot may rise by year 2030. The rise will not be steadily up, but up, down, and then back up.

Agricultural demand is affected by weather, government issues, subsidies, price of rice and other factors. Farming is an integral part of this district and there is no plan to curtail amount of groundwater available to agricultural community.

Pumpage from 1990 to 1998 has grown from 63 million gallons a day to 76 million for irrigation, industrial, and public supply.

Total need 116 million gallons a day. Brazos River is presently the only river to supply Fort Bend County. City of Houston on Harris County side along boundary has converted to surface water.

Total water demand 1990, 154.9 MGD; 2010, 209 MGD. Groundwater use, 1990, 62.6 MGD; availability for Fort Bend 70.55 MGD. We are overdrafting the aquifer by pumping 76.45 MGD in 1998.

The district intends to exercise all regulatory power to reduce withdrawal of groundwater by evaluating the alternatives. Senate Bill 1 allows the district to use funds for purposes consistent with certified plans; that is, a combination of the Subsidence Districtís plan and the Region H Water Planning Groupís plan.

Questions and comments:

By reapportioning other counties, Fort Bend population water demand numbers will not be underestimated. Fort Bend Subsidence District is considering incentive fees such as charged in Harris/Galveston Counties. Fort Bend is the only countywide groundwater district authorized body to deal with water issues, so itís charged with the official responsibility for bringing water issues to the boardís attention. Many people in total denial that there is any kind of water issue or water problem, but the reality is that to have quality water 10 to 50 years from now weíre going to have to be doing some things differently tomorrow.

In creating a new subsidence district where a large amount of groundwater is being pumped, we need to get people to register in order to monitor and regulate pumpage and build credibility. Grandfathering is not an issue. That means you would cut out growth.

 

GENERAL DISCUSSION:

Grad student requested to be able to interview members of the Board. Insurance policy was given to members for review. Carolyn Johnson requested members to speak at San Jacinto on the 13th. Frederick Perrenot is testifying at hearings as a consultant to Mayor Brown, and not as a lobbyist.

Selection of major providers: By definition delivers and sells significant amount of raw or treated water for municipal and/or main factory use, wholesale or retail, to include municipalities, river authorities, water districts. Agenda item for approval by next meeting. Agricultural and irrigation districts to be considered.

 

TEXAS WATER DEVELOPMENT BOARD COMMUNICATIONS:

Requests from consultants from difference regions to meet periodically before starting major tasks to share ideas toward the goal of uniformity between different regions.

The Board is receiving drought management and drought plans from different entities to be considered and added into plan. There are questions as to whether those entities with permits with conservation and drought contingency plans need approval by the TNRCC.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None.

NEXT MEETING:

June 2, 1999

10:00 a.m.

City Hall

Conroe, Texas

MEETING ADJOURNED