The Woodlands hears SJRA groundwater reduction plan

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The Woodlands Board of Directors heard a presentation from the San Jacinto River Authority during its Sept. 19 meeting regarding the plan to reduce usage of groundwater from the Gulf Coast Aquifer.

The board heard from Mark Smith, SJRA Groundwater Reduction Plan division manager, who presented on the amount of groundwater being pumped by SJRA and The Woodlands.

According to Smith, SJRA has been making efforts to reduce its usage below the 19.85 billion gallons of water it is allotted annually. Information presented by SJRA states that in 2018, it used 14.19 billion gallons.

Smith’s presentation also showed The Woodlands’s usage, which is set at an allotment of 6.52 billion gallons. In 2018, the township used 3.01 billion gallons.

“We are pumping below the allocated amounts, which is our plan,” Smith said. “Starting back in 2007, the aquifer levels had been dropping. In 2015, when the GRP began and groundwater pumpage started being reduced, the aquifer levels rebounded.”

Smith added the rate of subsidence has dropped to 0.5 centimeters per year.

Board Chairman Gordy Bunch also asked after the status of a ruptured pipe on Research Forest Boulevard, which has caused a section of the road to be closed down. Smith said he does not want to speculate on when it will be fully repaired, but SJRA is paying for the repair, including fixing and replacing damaged pavement.

Bunch expressed disappointment SJRA did not have insurance for the repairs, which he stated would have been a cheaper option, overall, than having funds budgeted.

The presentation was accepted with seven votes and one abstain from John McMullen, who missed part of the presentation due to weather.

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