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Williamson County must conserve and manage its groundwater

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 20 December 2018
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 5831

As consumers and customers of water, it behooves us all to not only conserve water, but to become involved in its management.

I recently attended a presentation on the role of groundwater conservation districts at the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District 8 Conference in Waco for County Judges and Commissioners.Spring-fed groundwater from the Edwards Aquifer bubbles at Berry Springs Park Lake near Georgetown.

Groundwater conservation districts are political subdivisions that manage groundwater production in Texas and are tasked with balancing the conservation of the resource with a landowner’s right to produce it.

As a commissioner, I learned that local communities play an important role in how groundwater is managed locally, regionally and statewide.

What is groundwater?

As Texas Living Waters Projects states, “Simply put, groundwater is water that is found beneath the surface of the earth.”

According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, 97 percent of groundwater in Texas is held in aquifers (underground rock layers which are saturated with groundwater). The aquifers, which provide fresh water to cities and irrigation to farmland, are close to the ground and recharged by rivers and water that seeps in.

Although Texas treats surface water and groundwater management differently, all surface water interacts with groundwater and vice versa. Surface water is considered Texas property, while according to the state’s Rule of Capture, groundwater is the landowner’s private property.

The withdrawal of water from streams can deplete groundwater, and pumping groundwater can deplete streams, lakes or wetlands. Pollution of surface water can degrade groundwater quality and pollution of groundwater can degrade surface water.

About 80 percent of groundwater is used for agricultural irrigation, but more efficient methods of farming are changing this. Metropolitan areas are gradually surpassing agricultural groundwater use.

Groundwater provides about 60 percent of our state’s water, with rivers and reservoirs providing the rest. Texans use nearly 17 million acre-feet of water annually. One acre-foot of water would cover a high school football field to a depth of one foot.


  • 18 December 2018
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 4235

Georgetown held an open house for the public in 2018 and a presentation to the Commissioners Court on Dec 11.  Many meetings happened with and amongst engineers, Commissioners (not as a group), Naturalists, Native Plant Society members, and the public to flush out all concerns and study of alternative routes.

Finally, on December 18, following a public hearing, all five members of the Commissioners Court voted to reject the request to construct a wastewater line thru Berry Springs Park and Preserve as the risk to that fragile environment was far too great.

Georgetown will probably be pursuing a route in the vicinity of Dry Berry Creek.

Commissioners Court Honors Volunteer Groups Who Distributed Water During Austin Water Boil Advisory

Part of the water distribution included the Williamson County Austin area in Commissioner Cook's Precinct (1)

  • 4 December 2018
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3857

Volunteers stand at the front of the courtroom with County Commissioners and County Emergency Management Staff after receiving honorary certificates for their contributions.

On Dec. 4, 2018, the Williamson County Commissioners honored local volunteer groups who assisted with water distribution activities who were called upon by the Wilco Office of Emergency Management during the City of Austin water outage resulting from floods that prompted city officials to issue a water boil for residents.  Collectively they distributed 1,250 cases of bottled water to 80,000 residents.

As a preemptive measure, Austin Water issued a self-imposed, city-wide boil water notice on the morning of Monday, Oct. 22, advising customers to boil water before use. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Austin Water experienced a brief spike in turbidity levels which triggered an official mandatory boil water notification, as required by state law, and notified its customers. The spike in turbidity did not require any change to precautionary measures already in place and did not put the public at additional risk. Approximately 80,000 Williamson County residents receive their water from Austin Water, either directly or through the indirect purchase, with an example being purchased through a Municipal Utility District (MUD). Other water sources in Williamson County, including water from other cities, were not under the boil water notice.

The groups recognized were the TEXSAR, Cedar Park Community Emergency Response Team, Georgetown Volunteers in Policing, Round Rock Seniors and Law Enforcement, Jarrell Community Emergency Response Team, Austin-Lakeway Community Emergency Response Team, the Knights of Columbus, and the Austin Disaster Relief Network.  Collectively they volunteered over 760 hours in support of this effort.

Sage Advice and Information for Those Pondering College

Oped by Commissioner Terry Cook

  • 15 November 2018
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 4136

Pictured left to right are Jim Johnson, WGU Community Relations Manager; Nancy Fitzgerald; WGU Texas Office Manager; Commissioner Cook; Emily LaBrecque, WGU Enrollment Counselor, Business College; and Ann Cruz, Enrollment Counselor, Business College.

If you’re a Wilco resident with a high school diploma or GED looking for a more flexible and much more affordable degree or certification program, I recommend two unbeatable options.

Last fall, I toured and wrote about the East Williamson County Higher Education Center in Hutto. Texas State Technical College, Temple College, and Texas A&M University-Central Texas that comprise EWCHEC, which formed a partnership with the Hutto community.

EWCHEC, through its three colleges, provides an opportunity to obtain associate degrees, coursework to finish bachelor’s and graduate degrees, and certification/licensure in programs like industrial maintenance, precision machining, welding and even cybersecurity.

EWCHEC’s campus buildings and programs continue to expand and excel. For more information, please visit http://ewchec.net/ .

Now Wilco residents—particularly working adults—can finish or obtain degrees from an accredited and reputable online university.

Who Is In Charge Of Elections In Texas

Video by the Texas Association of Counties

  • 31 October 2018
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 4018

Premiered Oct 26, 2018

Did you know? Counties make sure your vote counts! No matter what you're voting on, your county handles the election.

For video of who is in charge of elections in Texas, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qL_4pdF3IBI

Learn more about how your county serves you at http://www.TexasCountiesDeliver.org


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