Developer requests drilling permit from groundwater district

By Lisa Morton

The regular meeting of the Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District (CCGCD) opened yesterday with a moment of silence with news of the passing of Richard Koehn, Jr., the husband of groundwater board member Lacey Koehn. The meeting was attended by Vance Cottrell, Lane Brewster, George Strickhausen, General Manager Summer Webb and Haley Davis, the new Assistant General Manager. Absent were board members Lacey Koehn and Cruz Parada.

Discussion regarding the Lobo Aquifer has been a regular agenda item for months as the district addresses declining water levels that have caused curtailment of water usage for producers in the valley. GM Webb reported that announcements for stakeholders of the Lobo Aquifer will be published in the newspaper in hopes of gaining participants for future meetings to address these issues.

Webb told the board that Water Quality Testing will be her “last big push” as she transitions out of her GM position to include providing information on necessary equipment, costs, and the use of the two office personnel to provide the service on a regular basis.

The search for a replacement Engineer/Hydrogeologist for the CCGCD was discussed with interested parties named for the next steps required to hire.

Drilling and production within the city limits and city infrastructure was an agenda item that raised many questions at the meeting. The District received its first water well drilling permit application from a local hotel owner seeking to develop another hotel property. While GM Webb said approval of the application falls under district rules, CCGCD attorney Steve Mitchell advised the board that they would be in a far safer position if they received a written legal position on the matter. Mitchell said, “It strikes me as Ready, Shoot, Aim”. An analogy summed up with: Take the time to think through your actions before you do them.

Webb encouraged board members to open the dialogue with city officials at their next regular meeting.

The GM report included comment on new hire Haley Davis and the good job she has been doing. The board will be reorganizing at the next regular meeting scheduled for May 11, 2022, and a debt of gratitude was offered to outgoing board member and President, Vance Cottrell for his many years of service with the CCGCD.

In other business matters:

Approved the March 9, 2022, minutes as presented.

Approved payment of Bills in the amount of $6,620.91.