Water Planning: Meeting the needs of Far West Texas

By Becky Brewster

John Ashworth and Jennifer Herrera, LBG Guyton Consultants presenting to the board members at the Far West Texas Water Planning Group meeting last week.  Meeting coordinator was Omar Martinez of the RGCOG.

Photo by Lisa Morton

Members of the Far West Texas Water Planning Group (FWTWPG) met in Van Horn on last Thursday to continue the fifth cycle of the statewide water planning process.  The State of Texas is divided into 16 Regional Water Planning Areas with Far West Texas being comprised of the following counties: Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio and Terrell.

The regional water planning process started in 1997 when Senate Bill 1 was passed to establish a “bottom up” water planning process designed to ensure the needs of all Texans are met. According to the Texas Water Development Board: “This comprehensive water legislation was as outgrowth of increased awareness of the vulnerability of Texas to drought and to the limits of existing water supplies to meet increasing demands as the population and water uses increase.

The voting membership of the regional planning group is selected from 12 mandated interest groups (public, county, municipalities, industries, agriculture, environment, small businesses, electric generating utilities, river authorities, water districts, water utilities, and groundwater management areas) as well as other interests determined by each group. Many non-voting members also participate.  Members on the Board from Culberson County include Summer Webb and Becky Brewster.  Brewster has served on the FWTWPG since its inception. The Rio Grande Council of Governments serves as fiscal agent and project manager for the FWTWPG.

The regional water plans are developed over a five-year process. The plans make recommendations for strategies to meet future water supply needs, conserve water supplies, and respond to future droughts. In the early years of planning, the meetings were extremely contentious with the lines drawn between urban and rural communities.  Over the last twenty years, the relationships have become more symbiotic with the group working together for the mutual benefit of all.  The 2016 FWTWPG Regional Water Plan has been incorporated into the recently released Water for Texas 2017 State Water Plan.

The meetings of the FWTWPG are open to the public and public hearings are held during the process. For more information on water planning visit the Texas Water Development Board at www.twdb.texas.gov or the Rio Grande Council of Governments at www.riocog.org. (under Divisions/Environmental Services).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here