The task force was originally formed to discuss drainage issues following high-water events in April and May 2016, and it expanded its scope in 2020 to include issues such as groundwater and subsidence, which is the sinking of ground associated with excessive groundwater withdrawal, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
Director Ann Snyder made a motion at the April 21 meeting to continue the task force by making appointments, stating that she felt it was an important role for the township to serve even though it does not have jurisdiction over water matters.
“I strongly feel that water is our most precious resource,” Snyder said. “Flooding, subsidence and drainage are all major concerns to our constituents. ... The Woodlands has the authority to enhance the work that other agencies perform due to our enabling legislation. ... Extending the term of the task force sends a strong message ... that The Woodlands Township is concerned,” she said.
Bruce Rieser, vice chair of the township board who has served as chair of the One Water Task Force, said he felt the task force was not a good use of township resources.
“The primary role of the task force was to point out to the community that the current way that we handle water in the state of Texas and specifically this area is incredibly disjointed for a community of 120,000,” he said. “We tried to point that out for five years.”
Rieser said the township’s municipal utility districts are more appropriate entities to facilitate those discussion.
“I don’t think we should be spending time or township resources to do it; it really is not our responsibility,” he said.
He said the local municipal utility districts, central management agency The Woodlands Water Agency or the regional San Jacinto River Authority could potentially consider taking on a One Water Task Force or similar entity and ask a township representative to be a part of it.
Earlier in the meeting, Neil Gaynor, president of Montgomery County Municipal Utility District No. 6 and representative to the San Jacinto Regional Flood Planning Group, spoke in personal support of a water task force. He noted he was speaking on his own behalf and not in association with the entities on which he serves.
“It is my belief it should continue to be an important forum for water policies in the upper watershed,” he said.
Gaynor said if the task force was not renewed, that other avenues could be explored to represent township interests.