To the editor,

With all of the recent rain, writing about Stephenville’s water conservation plan and the state’s diminishing quantities of groundwater is daunting.  However, even with the recent rains, most sources will confirm a rainfall deficit for this year which keeps us all in a state of drought. Nonetheless, the City Water Committee will meet soon to both discuss and approve the state-mandated water conservation plan. This plan is required to be filed with the appropriate agency; it is also expected to be implemented and monitored for successful outcomes.

Additionally, the diminishing supply of groundwater available (e.g. Trinity aquifer) for consumption and production and by whom, continues to create a “wellspring” of controversy. As a recent article in the Star-Telegram stressed:

“Groundwater is a critical issue in Texas because it is the source of 59 percent of the water used, according to the 2007 State Water Plan. The danger is that the aquifers could eventually be depleted. To avoid that, the Legislature decided that groundwater districts should create plans that could limit how much water is pumped.”

The mission of the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation district is to conserve, preserve and protect the quality and quantity of the groundwater resources for the citizens of Comanche and Erath counties. The goal of every district, county, city and individual should be to ensure that sufficient water is available both now and for the indefinite future. Bob Patterson, the upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation districts’ executive director, recently reminded a group “that preserving groundwater is a [state] mandate.” Also, Horace Grace, president of Clearwater Underground Water Conservation district in Bell County, says, “State law requires that desired future conditions must be set for the state’s major and minor aquifers by Sept. 1, 2010, and then must be updated every five years. We want enough water left for future generations and not just pump them dry.”

In Stephenville, the Water Conservation Committee is dedicated to the proposition to ensure that Stephenville has a sufficient quality and quantity of water both now and in the future while requiring conservation methods that minimize the restraints on individual choice.  The committee has recommended within the updated water conservation plan that “no watering of lawns may be done between 11am and 6pm all year.” How do we reconcile the restraint on choice with our goal to minimize coercion and bureaucracy?

First, households with timer-controlled irrigation systems need to reset their timer to avoid no-watering times. This adjustment is a minimal intrusion. The more direct impact is upon the users of manual irrigation systems. Low cost, but efficient, attachments to minimize inconvenience are water-timer attachments to hoses and hose-tracking sprinklers. These sprinklers can water most of a medium-size yard without having to move them. Also, please recognize that, absent a drought, anyone can water seven days a week with an effective use from 6 p.m. to 11 a.m. (17 hours). Why does the Water Conservation Committee want to eliminate the other seven hours for watering use? That’s when we have the highest rates of evaporation and the highest winds. Watering during these times, on average, will waste about 60 percent of the water for which you will be billed. 

We continue to need your help in order for all Stephenville citizens to have the water they need; but also to use it efficiently.

Boyd Collier

vice-chair

Water Conservation Committee