Presidio County water conservation district conducts first meeting of year

MARFA, PRESIDIO – The Presidio County Underground Water Conservation District (PCUWCD) held its first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, January 8th at 10AM At the Presidio County Courthouse.

Board members in attendance included David Williams, Patt Sims, Vicky Carrasco, Chairman Trey Gerfers and General Manager Carolyn Macartney.

Others in attendance included Summer Webb, General Manager of Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District and Brewster County Groundwater Conservation District, Casey Wade of the Dixon Water Foundation, and Mark Cash of Village Farms.

The Board discussed the two production permit holders within the District and reached a decision to charge these permit holders for the water they use, as set forth in the District’s rules. Under Texas law, production permit holders are required to report their water use each year for incorporation into area-wide and state-wide water planning efforts. In the past, the District has not been consistent in gathering these data and invoicing production permit holders for the water they use. The decision by the District to follow its own rules and collect fees for water use from production permit holders will not affect any exempt water users, including residential users, ranchers, and municipal utilites.

In order to keep its promise to the County Commissioners to set up a water monitoring program within Presidio County, the Board discussed a proposal by its hydrogeologist, Allan Standen. The proposal seeks to identify 25 wells within the County that have historically been monitored by the Texas Water Development Board and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. These wells are significant because there is already of a lot of historical data available on them from past monitoring that will help the District to understand the aquifer segments beneath them. The monitoring program will involve periodically measuring the water level in each well and compiling that data to enable the detection of changes and trends. These data will be critical in furthering the District’s goal of determining overall groundwater availability to plan for the future and ensure the prosperity of the County. Once Mr. Standen has compiled the list of wells, Ms. Macartney, General Manager of the District, will contact the well owners. Participation in the well-level monitoring program will be strictly voluntary. The District will not enter any landowner’s property without the owner’s permission and monitoring will not affect access to or use of any well whatsoever. The District hopes to use this opportunity to listen to landowners’ concerns about water and find ways to better address these concerns.

In other business, the Board discussed possible candidates from south Presidio County to fill the seat vacated by J.B. Baeza. Any interested parties are encouraged to contact the District. The Board also voted to add a series of special meetings to its normal quarterly meeting schedule. The Board will now meet every second Tuesday of the month at 10 AM at the Presidio County Courthouse in Marfa, potentially with a couple of meetings a year to be held in Presidio. The next meeting of the PCUWCD will be held on Tuesday, February 12th. To receive an agenda in advance of meetings, voice any concerns or make any inquiries of the District, please contact Ms. Macartney at [email protected] or call 432.295.2568.