Montgomery County commissioners voted to remove the agenda item related to a groundwater resolution at their May 11 court meeting. Commissioners did not discuss why the item was pulled at the court meeting, and the office of Precinct 2 Commissioner James Noack did not provide an explanation in a followup email except to note that Noack had not made the motion.
Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts made the motion, which was seconded by Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley. Metts' office did not immediately return an email requesting comment.
Although it is not clear why the item was pulled, Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, the entity that regulates groundwater in Montgomery County, provided a statement to commissioners prior to the May 11 meeting, which was shared with Community Impact Newspaper. Part of the statement, which requested that commissioners not adopt resolution, is below:
"At present, LSGCD feels the court does not have all of the information needed to weigh in on this crucial topic. ... Last month, LSGCD announced the beginning of a 90-day public comment period for the proposed DFCs [desired future conditions, or long-term goals for the Gulf Coast Aquifer System], which ends on July 19. LSGCD plans to hold a hearing on the proposed DFCs next month and feels it is vital to hear from the entire county, particularly those who own the groundwater, before making important policy decisions on groundwater management in Montgomery County."
LSGCD President Harry Hardman is expected to speak at the next commissioners court meeting May 25.
Montgomery County commissioners will vote to approve a resolution relating to the use of groundwater May 11—a decision that comes on the heels of a controversial proposed water-bottling deal in Conroe.
According to the Commissioners Court agenda packet, the resolution states although commissioners support the private property rights of landowners related to the production of groundwater, they recognize that overpumping can have negative long-term consequences such as subsidence, the gradual sinking of the earth. The resolution is against the production of groundwater for use outside of Montgomery County.
“The commissioners court recognizes the above-mentioned consequences of over reliance on groundwater supplies and the importance of meeting the long-term water supply needs of Montgomery County citizens and, therefore, strongly oppose pumping groundwater within Montgomery County for wholesale or retail supply of any kind outside the boundaries of Montgomery County,” the resolution states.
If approved, a copy of the resolution will be forwarded to each member of the board of directors of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, the entity that regulates groundwater in Montgomery County, and Groundwater Management Area 14, which is composed of several groundwater conservation districts, including the LSGCD, that manage the Gulf Coast aquifer system.
GMA 14 is in the midst of finalizing its desired future conditions, or DFCs, which is a long-term goal for the aquifer. GMA 14 approved its proposed DFC on April 9.
The proposed resolution follows a proposed deal in Conroe involving a “nationally-known” water bottling company believed to be Niagara Bottling, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
The company had purchased a tract of land in Conroe Park North with the intent to pump 650,000 gallons a day with the possibility of reaching 1.95 million gallons per day. It had drawn concern from residents and some city officials who were worried about the potential effects on the region's groundwater resources and upcoming regulatory decisions, and the company eventually withdrew.