Brazos Valley groundwater rights could be changing

POSTED: Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 5:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

BRYAN -- In the Brazos Valley, the amount of groundwater cities are allowed to take in could be changing.

There's a debate growing between Robertson County and Brazos County about how much ground water Bryan and College Station should be allowed to use.

Last year the cities only used about half the water their permitted to take.

And Bryan's director of public works, Jayson Barfknecht, says they need the extra water for future city planning.

"The groundwater district has been allocated a certain amount of water that has been permitted. The city of Bryan has historical use permits and one operating permit out of that allocation and we're utilizing that amount of water for the future growth of the city."

The Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation district helps manage Texas' water and both Bryan and College Station want the board to keep their water permit levels the same.

"I think there is a movement for some folks on the board to actually reduce the amount of water that some of the municipalities have to free up water for other folks to permit. for us we're looking at trying to keep what we have permitted so looking into the future we have a reliable supply," said Barfknecht.

But not everyone thinks that's fair.

John Melvin with the Brazos Valley Groundwater Rights Association says, "They have twice as much permit than what they actually pump, which is fine if they want to do that but then let everyone else do the same thing too."

Until the groundwater board comes up with new guidelines though, all permits are on hold.

Barfknecht says "It's becoming important for our groundwater district because we've been getting to that cap on what we've been allocated to permit based on the desire future permits."

The issue isn't the drought or fear of running out of water, it all comes down to how these cities regulate it.

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