The Texas Conservation Districts Amendment, also known as Proposition 1, was approved by state voters on Aug. 21, 1917. The measure required the conservation and development of the state’s natural resources.

It authorized conservation districts to issue bonds and levy taxes to help property owners during drought and flooding.

It was nearly 100 years to the day of the historic floods in Southern Texas, said Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts Executive Director Sarah Schlessinger.

Schlessinger was a speaker at the 17th Bell County Water Symposium at Warrior Hall on the campus of Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen. The room was filled with government officials, conservation district employees, representatives from local congressmen and those interested in water conservation.

“This is a great opportunity to gather a wide array of stakeholders in one common setting,” Schlessinger said.

Schlessinger said when Texas is not in a drought, it is hard to get people interested in water conservation. She heads a nonprofit that works with local water conservation districts.

She said the 1917 legislation was important because it created a policy for water management, laws to regulate natural resources, offered taxation to finance projects and paved the way for groundwater districts.

Legislation in 1949 created groundwater districts offering landowner rights and helped set water regulations.

Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District General Manager Dirk Aaron spoke on the state of water districts. He has helped organize the symposium for the last 17 years.

He stressed the importance of water in Central Texas.

“When we say that we don’t have any more water, the development will stop,” Aaron told the 150-plus in attendance. “Our job is to facilitate conversations about water and water usage.”

Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District was confirmed by voters in 1999 and opened in 2002. Tax money is used at a rate of .00385 cents per $100 of assessed home values. The district has a budget of sbout $680,000, according to Aaron.

The district’s website offers information for Bell County well drillers and pump installers, monitoring of statewide wells and reservoir levels.

He noted one of the useful tools on the conservation district’s website for local residents is a 3-D model that can show a landowner what is below the property, using latitude and longitude numbers.

Aaron said there are more than 3,500 active wells in Bell County.

Clearwater added a walk-through educational trailer earlier in the year for school children and other organizations to stress the importance of water conservation.

Corey Dawson is one of the Clearwater UWCD employees who teaches water usage. The trailer includes an aquifer model, an example of indoor water conservation kitchen and a pair of well models.

“We can take 12 to 15 students at a time,” Dawson said. “It takes about 20 minutes to work through the trailer.”

Dawson said the trailer can be brought to a school and will have a rainfall simulator in the future.

The one-day symposium at A&M-Central Texas concluded Wednesday afternoon and featured information on legislative agendas, the state of water in Texas, a Brazos River basin update, water planning, a welcome address by Marc Nigliazzo who is the president of A&M-Central Texas, and seminars on aquifers, scientific initiatives and watershed protection.

jsteers@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7464

(1) comment

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.

Copy: 'The Texas Conservation Districts Amendment, also known as Proposition 1, was approved by state voters on Aug. 21, 1917. The measure required the conservation and development of the state’s natural resources.'
Continuation of copy: 'It authorized conservation districts to issue bonds and levy taxes to help property owners during drought and flooding.' End of copy.

Why is it purposeful to take thru the use of bonds and levy taxes to quantify who can use said water???? If one district has the wherewithal to capture for future use of it's patrons, should another district be capable of using such a commodity, such as water, for their own purpose????

I think it should on a state wide basis, not confined to a cost of each and every water district. If one can be capable of drawing from the aquifer, then one should be subject to a tax, and that is what it will be, for the purpose of 'building a renewable source of water for future use'. If someone uses the Gulf as an example, to desalinate sea water into drinking water, that is one thing and they should be exempt from all water taxes and fees, but if they should ever want to join in with the withdrawal of aquifer water then a heavy fine should be imposed on that district.

Copy: 'It was nearly 100 years to the day of the historic floods in Southern Texas, said Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts Executive Director Sarah Schlessinger.
Schlessinger was a speaker at the 17th Bell County Water Symposium at Warrior Hall on the campus of Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen. The room was filled with government officials, conservation district employees, representatives from local congressmen and those interested in water conservation.' End of copy.

And what has been done about this calamity, almost nothing. It will fall upon someone who has the wherewithal to seek out and do something about this natural calamity.

Copy: “This is a great opportunity to gather a wide array of stakeholders in one common setting,” Schlessinger said.'
Continuation of copy: 'Schlessinger said when Texas is not in a drought, it is hard to get people interested in water conservation. She heads a nonprofit that works with local water conservation districts.'
Continuation of copy: 'She said the 1917 legislation was important because it created a policy for water management, laws to regulate natural resources, offered taxation to finance projects and paved the way for groundwater districts.'
Continuation of copy: 'Legislation in 1949 created groundwater districts offering landowner rights and helped set water regulations.' End of copy.

But did the legislation, created as groundwater districts, actually give landowner rights that set water regulations, or was it 'just for the few'???? I am attempting to develop the case where a individual land owner has an equal opportunity over the large landowner. In this case, it is my personal opinion that this is not the case.

Whenever you establish a water district that has control over the water rights of a district in which people live, 'you have removed the individual rights of that individual and placed into the hands of a limited few'. You then encumber the individual as to what he or she can do and set the rate by which the individual can be charged for that use. The 'district' can then be empowered as who can see to the infrastructure, and the delivery into which the 'district' can then charge each and every land owner for this service, and the city is not the owner of said facility, the 'district' is, but the land owner has the responsibility of paying for all of the appurtenances and infrastructures that it encompasses.

Water is a finite commodity so the use of this commodity is of importance to us all. When we reach the eventual limit of this commodity, we have some important decisions to make and now is the time in which we should be making them.

It is not a matter of when that limit is reached, it is what can be done and that is for we the people to decide. 'Are we to give control of someone else to make the decisions, or are we to take control of our own destiny', that is the question.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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