PRESS RELEASE
from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
April 23, 2007
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

Senate committee passes bill by Estes to create groundwater conservation district

AUSTIN -- The Senate Committee on Natural Resources passed Senate Bill 1983 by State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) to create the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District encompassing Hood, Montague, Parker, and Wise counties.

"I am working with local officials to help create a groundwater conservation district that will be controlled locally for local water concerns," said Estes.

The creation of the groundwater conservation district is subject to approval by a majority vote of local residents, and would be financed by user fees. The conservation district would not have taxing authority, and would be governed by locally elected directors.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is currently considering a draft plan that could lead to the creation of a 13-county water district combining both urban and rural counties, to include Hood, Montaque, Parker, and Wise counties. Senate Bill 1983 would preempt the 13-county conservation district.

In a related bill on groundwater conservation, Senator Estes filed Senate Bill 1338 to require industries currently exempt from groundwater district regulations to report their annual water use to the district.

"Groundwater conservation districts need to know exactly how much water is being used by the industrial users to properly plan for future water needs," said Estes. "Without this reporting on water use, the conservation district cannot effectively do its job."

"I encourage locally controlled groundwater conservation districts to oversee and promote responsible and fair water usage within their areas rather than a state imposed water district as contemplated by state bureaucrats," added Estes.

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