New procedure for selecting water board directors
David Barkemeyer
Milam County Judge

Last week I reviewed the procedure the commissioners court has adopted for considering candidates for filling expiring positions on the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater District board of directors.

One of the commissioners suggested that it would be a good idea if we were to explain, part icularly to anyone who might be thinking about being considered for a position, what the duties and responsibilities of a board member are.

The board is composed of 10 members, 5 each from Milam and Burleson counties appointed for alternating 4-year terms.

The law states that the district is to be governed by the board of directors. Each board member is to represent a particular interest group, i.e. municipal, agricultural producers, rural water supply corporations, industrial interests and the county at large. The state legislat ure here implies that each board member has a duty to be familiar with his/her specific interest group’s needs and wishes regarding groundwater and to represent those interests on the board.

This further implies that the board member should report back to his/ her constituents periodically regarding the policies and activities of the district.

Landowners own the water under their property. Furthermore, they have the right to lease or sell those rights, and through the right of capture they control that water.

However, Groundwater Conservation Districts were creatnical ed by the state to manage and conserve the aquifers of Texas through statutory power which gives them the power to modify this right of capture.

Therefore, groundwater conservation districts have the power to limit groundwater production, limit declines in aquifer levels, issues water well permits, and modify those permits as conditions change.

Therefore, districts develop management plans, establish rules, and so on by which each district operates. They are also given the power to charge production and transfer fees to generate funds to operate and to issue grants, for conservation projects primarily. The members of the board of directors determine what that management plan will be, establish the rules, and how to use the fees generated with the help of a district manager and experts whom they hire to provide tech- assistance to the board.

The Post Oak Savannah Board meets at least quarterly on the second Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Milano at the district headquarters building.

They review data from over 80 monitor wells located throughout Milam and Burleson counties which track levels in the aquifers, management strategies are reviewed periodically, permits are reviewed for approval, water companies apply for grants, and other business is conducted at the meetings.

Board members serve 4-year terms and may be reappointed.

There are no term limits, and although uncompensated, these are important position of service and requires a considerable amount of understanding of groundwater issues and technology in order to function effectively.

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2013-10-10 digital edition

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