By Edna Clark
Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District (CCGCD) members met on Wednesday, December 14th, with four of five members present. Primary topic of discussion in this meeting was protection of and water level replenishment in the Lobo Aquifer.
Lobo Aquifer stakeholder, Gary Jackson, addressed District members and relayed brainstorming ideas conceived by himself, other stakeholders, and CCGCD General Manager, Summer Webb. Findings that the ground water level in the Aquifer has dropped considerably in recent years have prompted coordinated efforts to alleviate the situation.
Mr. Jackson stated that he and other stakeholders are working on a five year plan to increase the Lobo Aquifer water level by 15 acre feet at the end of five years. A five year plan will allow stakeholders to make necessary adjustments to crops production and allow for possible drought situations which might require more water in any one year. In a proactive good-faith commitment to the issue, Mr. Jackson volunteered to forego a 2017 grain crop contract, thereby, reducing his farms’ water consumption. Other stakeholders have volunteered the same type of pledge to ensure that there is enough water for future generations.
Mrs. Webb advised District members that she will schedule a meeting between Lobo stakeholders and Dr. Blair for technical advice and finalization of a five year plan to be presented in January, 2017. District member, Lane Brewster, asked for 60 – 90 days delay on holding a public hearing on the Lobo Aquifer plan of action, instead of the January, 2017, hearing which had been previously discussed. This will allow the stakeholders and the CCGCD time to make necessary changes for any agreements.
Lobo Aquifer stakeholder, Edwin Easley, raised questions about the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) assuming control of the water level issues. Mrs. Webb assured him that with the steps being taken of all concerned, the TWDB would have no jurisdiction in the situation. She also encouraged all parties to review CCGCD rules Section V for any concerns.
Letters will be sent to all water permit holders from Mrs. Webb to make them aware that all water meters are to be read by the individuals and submitted on a monthly basis. The CCGCD will continue its own monthly meter readings to have more accurate data. This requirement affects all management zones and is not new, but one that has not been enforced previously. Mrs. Webb was charged by the District to create an easily read spreadsheet for consumers to submit their readings.
District members approved purchase of at least two more static monitors for the Lobo Aquifer area and a specialized camera for water well photographs. $25,000 was approved for Mrs. Webb to make these purchases.
A tax resale bid request from Vina Aguilar in the amount of $1320 for Block 63 was granted.
Mrs. Webb advised District members that the Annual Report will be available in February, 2017. She expressed concerns about advertising of real estate auctions of properties located east of Van Horn. CCGCD Attorney Hicks increased his rates from $350 to $375 per hour.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be January 11, 2017 at 2:00PM. Agenda items will be equipment purchases, a Lobo Aquifer update including the scheduling of a public hearing, and the Annual Audit.