Water fees in Montgomery County will remain at the same rate in 2022 as they were in 2021 following a Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Board vote Aug. 11.

The seven-member board of directors approved a resolution to keep fees at a rate of $0.085 per 1,000 gallons for groundwater produced from the Chicot, Evangeline and Jasper aquifers for nonagricultural use, according to an Aug. 12 news release. The Chicot, Evangeline and Jasper aquifers are part of the Gulf Coast aquifer, which runs along the Gulf Coast from the Louisiana border to the Mexican border.

The resolution also sets the rate for groundwater from the Catahoula aquifer, which is defined by the board as an alternative water source for Montgomery County, at $0.06 per 1,000 gallons for nonagricultural use. Agricultural use rates are set at $1.00 per acre-foot for groundwater produced from any aquifer.

Fees for the Chicot, Evangeline and Jasper aquifers have remained constant since 2020, when the board decreased them from the 2019 rate of $0.105 per 1,000 gallons. The rate for the Catahoula has remained constant since 2016, when directors lowered it to its current rate, hoping to encourage development of the deeper aquifer and relieve pressure on the Gulf Coast aquifers.

In a separate resolution, the board voted to continue allowing the public to videoconference into meetings. Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District meetings are broadcast on the board’s website, but due to the pandemic, the public was given the option to use Zoom to provide comments on meetings. Guests cannot teleconference into meetings due to a provision of the Texas Open Meetings Act, however. The district also accepts written comments if the Zoom link does not work.