From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
July 20, 2004
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Fraser Calls Town Hall Meeting on Burnet County Groundwater

AUSTIN -- Concerned about the possible creation of a state-mandated multi-county groundwater district that would include Burnet County, state Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) has scheduled a town hall meeting for county residents to explore other potential options.

The meeting will he held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 4 at the Burnet Community Center.

Under state law, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is given the authority to designate and recommend the formation of Priority Groundwater Management Areas (PGMA).

The TCEQ is in the process of preparing a recommendation for a groundwater district designation that would include all of Burnet, all of Williamson and the northern portion of Travis counties. The TCEQ, in conjunction with the Texas Water Development Board and other state agencies, will conduct a study of the Trinity and Edwards aquifers, and then solicit input from local residents and area land owners about local groundwater management options.

Fraser said he decided to call the town hall meeting after the Burnet County Commissioners Court voted unanimously July 12 to oppose the possible formation of the three-county groundwater district.

"I have a concern about a state-mandated groundwater district where Burnet County would be smaller and subservient to the other counties in the water district," Fraser said. "My role at the town hall meeting will be to lay out the options, and to help chart a course of action."

When the state study is complete, the TCEQ staff will issue a report that could contain a recommendation for the formation of the three-county PGMA. If the TCEQ recommends the formation of a PGMA, the state has the authority to create it within two years.

But, citing a letter from Burnet County Judge Dave Kithil, Fraser said county residents may have another option if they wish to pursue it.

"We have already started a local initiative to create a groundwater district for Burnet County, and in this regard have obtained over 1,200 signatures on a petition asking for legislative approval for a local option vote to come to the citizens of Burnet County," Kithil wrote.

Fraser said: "Clearly, the clock is ticking. If we want to avoid the state imposing a groundwater district that Burnet County cannot control, then we need to look at our options. If asked by the citizens of Burnet County, I'm prepared to carry legislation during the 2005 session to help us control our own destiny in terms of groundwater management."