The Lake Conroe Communities Network is in the process of garnering signatures for a petition urging the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District to suspend impending groundwater regulations that would go into effect in 2016.
The petition claims the regulations will cause a water deficit of 100,000 acre-feet per year by 2035 when factoring in Montgomery County population growth projections. They want the district to take time to study the viability and sustainability of using alternative methods of accessing water, including taking it from Lake Conroe.
The petition also calls upon the district to initiate other water conservation tactics instead of only cutting back on aquifer use. LCCN also wants LSGCD to distinguish the four aquifers under Montgomery County as such and not as one Gulf Coast Aquifer as LCCN claims.
“This is unprecedented as far as we’re concerned, to influence Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District through a petition,” LCCN President Scott Sustman said.
The network held a series of forums in Lake Conroe communities on April 27 and 28 introducing the petition and gaining support and signees.
“The petition deals with the economic viability, practicality and sustainability of alternative water sources,” Sustman said. “That’s actually right in the charter Lone Star Water Conservation District has, and before they constrict water usage from a particular source, they need to make sure that the alternative source is economically viable, ethical and sustainable.
“We feel there’s some question about that when they’re pointing to Lake Conroe potentially as an alternative water source because there’s a finite amount of water in Lake Conroe, and quite frankly, there’s more water in the aquifers than there is in Lake Conroe.”
Kathy Turner Jones, general manager for LSGCD, said the district has no intentions of delaying the implementation of the regulations on Jan. 1, 2016.
Jones said the district is performing studies to determine the impact of the 2016 regulations as well as the additional availability of groundwater.
“The current plan has adequate options for anticipated growth through 2070 and it will be under revision starting next year to incorporate revised population estimates,” Jones said. “Montgomery County will need to be able to draw upon a variety of diversified sources of raw water for future public needs and economic development. If additional groundwater is determined to be available it will be incorporated in the next planning round as a viable future supply.”
Jones also said the study the district is undertaking distinguishes the aquifers as separate strata and not as one “Gulf Coast Aquifer,” as does the Houston Area Groundwater Model.
LSGCD partakes in groundwater conservation education, Jones said, and it has fulfilled its statutorily mandated duties in doing so.
“The district has been active in promoting conservation for all entities within the county,” Jones said. “The district’s offices has (sic) many examples of conservation measures for outdoor water and rainwater harvesting as well as native plant landscaping for water savings. It has also assisted in the establishment of the Gulf Coast/Montgomery County Water Efficiency Network consisting of water professionals from around the region that meet regularly to share industry information and discuss conservation issues.”
The petition currently has over 400 signatures