At Thursday’s meeting of the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (MTGCD,) the board of directors continued ongoing discussions about the potential growth of the district.
Talks concerning the joining of the MTGCD continue to progress with representatives from neighboring counties, including Coryell and Bosque, as they will be required by recommendation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to create or join an existing groundwater conservation district. Once an area has been declared a priority groundwater management area (PGMA,) as in the cases of Bosque and Coryell Counties, a decision to create a new district or join an existing district must be made or the TCEQ will establish a district as they see fit. Representatives from the two counties have been proactive in researching their options in an effort to maintain the upper hand in governing their own groundwater supply.
MTGCD Manager Joe Cooper explained Bosque County would be required to make a decision regarding their water supply within the next two years. “Right now, no decisions have been made,” Cooper said. “They are just gathering facts so that they can establish a plan to take before their citizens. I believe if Bosque County decides to join the MTGCD, there is a chance that both Hill and Coryell Counties will follow.”
President Willis Amnet of the Tablerock Groundwater Conservation District, which was established during the most recent legislative session, and Coryell County Commissioner Jack Wall were present at Thursday’s meeting. Wall explained an election would be held in Coryell County in November to ask area voters to confirm the establishment of a groundwater-taxing district. If the voters approve the taxing entity, the decision to join or create a district will have to be made.
“If we decide to join an existing district, we would rather go with the MTGCD than a metropolitan district,” Amnet said. “We feel that a more rural district such as yours will better understand our needs.”
Wall added that Coryell County Commissioners are actively working with their local groundwater district to establish the best plan possible, “We (the commissioners court) are behind Tablerock all the way,” Wall said. “We also feel that we could offer benefits to the MTGCD including increased revenue (through taxes), strength in numbers and an increase in the strength of the shield protecting the aquifer. We are very interested in the MTGCD. I feel like the vote will pass in November and we will go from there.”
“We feel we can fit into the MTGCD.” Amnet added. “I wish we could have done this a long time ago, when your district was being established.”
During the formation of the MTGCD, several counties had considered joining the district. Coryell County was heavily involved in the planning process; however, joining the district never went to vote. Wall explained that since Hamilton County was not on board and Bosque County voted down joining the district, Coryell County did not apply since there would not have been a contiguous district.
This time, Coryell County (like Bosque) will be forced to take action and with the support of local citizens and the help of the MTGCD, there is a chance that over the next few years there could be growth within the district since law makers are pushing toward regionalized groundwater management plans.
On the home front, MTGCD directors seem to agree that increased size will mean increased power and the growth of the district will mean better protection for the aquifer and a louder voice as one big, unified body.