Water Symposium

Maps showing the locations of operational ASR(Aquifer Storage and Recovery) well fields are part of a PowerPoint presentation during the 16th annual Bell County Water Symposium on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.

The Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District will host the 17th annual Bell County Water Symposium beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, 1001 Leadership Place in Killeen.

The water symposium is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsors include Texas Well Owner Network, Lloyd Gosselink Attorneys at Law, HALFF Associates, LBG-Guyton & Associates, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Bell County Engineers Office, Bell County Commissioners Court, Baylor University Department of Geology and Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

This year’s themes are: “Water Planning for Texas, Now or Never” and “The Reality for Current and Future Water Needs of Central Texas”

The event will have two keynote addresses from Texas leaders.

The first keynote address will be by Bech Bruun, chairman of the Texas Water Development Board. Bruun has served as a member of the TWDB since Sept. 1, 2013. Gov. Greg Abbott designated him chairman in June 2015.

Bruun is a gubernatorial appointee to the Western States Water Council and the Texas Environmental Flows Advisory Group. He also serves as an ex-officio member of the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Council.

He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

The second keynote speech will be from District 22 state Rep. Lyle Larson, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which addresses most of the water-related legislation by the Texas House of Representatives.

Larson served as San Antonio councilman, District 10, for two terms and as Bexar County Commissioner, Precinct 3, from 1997 to 2008.

Larson is a lifelong resident of the San Antonio area. Born and raised in northern Bexar County, he grew up helping his parents and four brothers and sisters on their family farm. He earned a bachelor of business administration degree from Texas A&M University in 1981.

Larson is a member of the General Investigating and Ethics Committee. He has a reputation for being committed to working to secure Texas’s water future. Over the course of the last six years, he has traveled across the state to meet with individuals involved in water policy and planning.

Since 2011, Larson has visited 49 groundwater conservation districts, 12 river authorities, all large public utilities, and several other municipalities and water districts.

According to the Water Development Board, about 7.2 million acre-feet of water stored in surface water reservoirs evaporates in an average year. While surface reservoirs continue to feature prominently in the recently adopted 2017 state water plan, many consider Aquifer Storage and Recovery to have several advantages over reservoirs that justify its expanded use.

In addition to resisting water loss through evaporation, ASR does not involve the acquisition and flooding of land above ground, which can be expensive and result in destruction of wildlife habitat and private property.

In 2015, the 84th Legislature enacted House Bill 655 by Larson, which resulted in several changes to the way ASR is regulated. The bill specified how ASR facilities must account for the water they inject and recover and the role of groundwater conservation districts in such projects.

The Belton-based Clearwater district embraced this bill and believes ASR is a critical strategy to help answer the regional question, “How can we meet the growing need for water in both Bell and Williamson Counties?”

This year’s program will also include presentations from the staff and executive directors of the Texas Water Conservation Association and the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts. Clearwater UWCD has been a member of both organizations since 2002.

In addition, the symposium will have speakers from Brazos River Authority, Clearwater UWCD, TexMesonet Weather Station program, Texas AgriLife Research Blackland Center, Texas A&M University and LBG-Guyton & Associates.

The topics and discussions will provide attendees insight into the challenges local and regional leadership face with a growing population, the cost of infrastructure, and demand on current water resources.

RSVP to the Clearwater Office at 254-933-0120. Pre-registering allows the district to plan for the free noon meal and breaks.

For more information, go to www.cuwcd.org.

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