The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) today rejected a petition filed against the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD) by a local resident who believed the District was not doing enough to protect the groundwater in Milam and Burleson counties. After consideration of all information, the TCEQ Commissioners voted unanimously to dismiss the petition. The Commissioners all agreed POSGCD was following the law and meeting the needs of the local land owners, while providing long term protection of the groundwater in the aquifers of the District. Both the TCEQ Executive Director and the TCEQ Office of Public Interests Council recommended in April to dismiss the petition, noting the petitioner had not produced evidence to support his claims.
This marks the second time in three years the Commissioners of TCEQ have voted unanimously to dismiss a petition challenging the District’s management of groundwater resources. Burleson County Judge, Mike Sutherland said, “This validates the District’s management of the aquifers, and should give the citizens in our two counties even more confidence in how the Board of Directors manages, regulates, and protects our precious resources.” POSGCD General Manager Gary Westbrook added, “Our Board takes seriously the concerns of citizens in our District. Post Oaks’ rules have always been designed to protect the aquifers below each landowners property while preserving each landowner’s right to produce their water.” POSGCD Board President Sidney Youngblood stated, “Today’s ruling is truly significant. It underscores that POSGCD’s Board is committed to pursuing our Mission Statement taking on this responsibility at a very high level. This Board will continue on a non-compromising path of respectfully representing all landowners understanding that we must continue to build trust and confidence with Burleson and Milam County citizens to ensure that we are truly successful as a Board in protecting the valuable water resources that lie beneath both counties.”
Cited at the TCEQ meeting today was also the fact that POSGCD is going above and beyond the state minimum responsibilities by regulating production and building a robust water level monitoring network, currently at almost 170 wells, with wells strategically located in all aquifers of the District. This network is designed to provide the most up to date information on the health of the aquifers. The TCEQ Commissioners reminded the landowner that he could work within the District to participate in the direction and decisions made by the Directors.
The Texas Legislature established the groundwater conservation district in 2001 to ensure there will be groundwater under Milam and Burleson counties for generations to come, and the District was confirmed by election of the citizens in Milam and Burleson in 2002.
POSGCD also has many additional programs of benefit to local citizens including providing grants to local water utilities, assisting fire departments with the cost of water conservation efforts, assisting landowners with the cost of plugging abandoned water wells, and providing grants for Rain Water Harvesting efforts in the District. The District also provides community services and educational presentations to the citizens concerning groundwater and conservation, and in 2018 the Board of Directors adopted the POSGCD Groundwater Well Assistance Program (GWAP). This program was created to assist well owners whose wells are projected to experience water level declines in their wells below the pump during normal operations as a result of groundwater production in GMA 12.