When the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District gathers at 3 p.m. Thursday for a public hearing at city hall, nothing less than College Station’s future water supply will be at stake. Our city’s growth and future prosperity depends in large measure on securing a reliable water supply.
The City of College Station has invested millions of dollars in land and infrastructure to meet our community’s current and future water demands. We also have taken difficult steps to enact aggressive water conservation and reclamation programs to reduce demands on our potable water system. Still, some members of the Groundwater District Board, which controls our water well permits, believe College Station’s well permits should be reduced. The facts indicate otherwise.
About our Water Supply
College Station’s drinking water comes from nine wells in northern Brazos County. The wells are permitted by the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District, and each permit specifies an annual pumping limit. The grand total permitted for College Station is 22,626 acre-feet per year (one acre-foot equals 326,000 gallons), while our actual usage in the most recent year is 14,400 acre-feet. Our latest water demand study, conducted by HDR Engineers, predicts we could need 24,000 acre-feet per year by the year 2020. Our water conservation and reclaimed water initiatives should keep demand down within our permitted limit, but College Station is clearly not over-permitted.
Cause for Concern
Some of College Station’s well permits must be renewed every five years. Two are in the renewal process and one will be up for renewal next year. As our well permits come up for renewal, several Groundwater District Board members are advocating a reduction in our total water allocation since we are not using all that water right now. To make matters worse, they would also like to review our historic well permits, which were operational before the creation of the Groundwater Conservation District and are not subject to the renewal process. These board members seem to disregard the fact that municipalities are required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to be proactive and lock-in water supplies for the future. Their counterproductive attitude must be overcome.
Our Goal for Groundwater District Policy
College Station is committed to meeting our future water needs and continuing our innovative water conservation and reclaimed water programs. We must convince the Groundwater District Board that well permits provide for reasonably foreseeable water demands in a 10 to 20 year forecast. Board members should not penalize responsible water users who succeed in reducing water demands through conservation and reclamation.
Join us or Watch on Ch. 19
If you can’t come to city hall for Thursday’s public hearing, watch it live on Suddenlink Ch. 19 or through the city’s website.
Director of Water Services