• September 30, 2014

Coryell Co. seeks united front for water needs

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Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014 11:45 pm

GATESVILLE — Seeking a closer look at future water needs, Coryell County commissioners want to join with about a dozen water-supply entities in the area — including the cities of Gatesville, Copperas Cove and Kempner — to present a united front to state officials.

“We have to have a sit-down with all the (water supply) entities to get on the same page,” Commissioner Jack Wall said Monday. “We need to go up there in force. That is the only way they’ll hear us.”

Last month, the commissioners expressed their dissatisfaction with the 2011 water-needs assessment done by the Brazos Region G Water Planning Group, which represents 37 counties including Coryell, Bell and Lampasas.

The commissioners sent a letter to the Texas Water Development Board asking for a new water study, claiming the regional group underestimated the area’s population growth.

In a March 7 letter to County Judge John Firth, water board officials told the county officials to take their complaint to the regional planning group.

Coryell County does not have a representative on the planning board, which is a sore spot for Wall.

“There is nobody in Region G who is blowing the horn for us,” Wall said. “It is really a shame.”

County Attorney Brandon Belt said commissioners, together with the water-supply entities, should take their plea to the area’s elected state officials — state Sen. Troy Fraser and state Rep. J.D. Sheffield — to intervene with the water board.

In the February resolution seeking a new water study, the county cited the completion of State Highway 9 from Fort Hood and U.S. Highway 190 into southern Coryell County and the construction of a regional medical center at Fort Hood as factors driving population growth in the area.

Firth said the plan adopted in 2012 to serve the region’s water needs through 2060 “significantly understates the magnitude” of the population growth around Fort Hood.

The 2012 plan targets Coryell County for an off-channel reservoir along Cowhouse Creek north of U.S. 84, but Firth said the county wants to take another look at the water supply and projected demand.

Firth said he would contact the water-supply entities to set up a workshop meeting.

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