TWCA 71st ANNUAL CONVENTION President Bob Brandes invites you to attend the 71ST ANNUAL CONVENTION of the Texas Water Conservation Association Wednesday, March 4 - Friday, March 6, 2015, at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, Austin, TX
Christi Craddick, Chair, Texas Railroad Commission
Glenn Hegar, Texas Comptroller
Brigadier General David Hill, SW Div., US Army Corps of Engineers
State Senator Charles Perry
State Representative Jim Keffer
Stare Representative Wayne Smith
Robert Puente, CEO, San Antonio Water Systems
Tripp Doggett, CEO Electric Reliability Council of Texas
Messa ge from the Presiden t
This past year has really flown by. It seems like only yesterday that we had our 70th Annual Convention at The Woodlands. As we approach the Associationâ€™s next Annual Convention in March, we have a lot to reflect on and a lot to look forward to. The most earth-shattering thing that has happened to TWCA recently has been the announcement by General Manager Leroy Goodson that he plans to retire at the end of the year. This is a monumental event for TWCA considering that Leroy has managed the day-to-day affairs of the Association for the past 33 years. I cannot begin to say what Leroy has meant to the organization, but one cannot survive being involved with this diverse group for TWCA 2014 Fall Conference that long and not have been successfully taking care October of business. Leroy has15-17, done that. In2014 his own way, he has kept things on track among a wide range of Wyndham San Antonio different interests of TWCA members, and he has Riverwalk served to keep the AssociationHotel moving in the right direction to the point that TWCA now is recognized as an important leader with regard to water matters, not only in this state, but also among all western states that face similar water issues and problems as Texas. Leroy has been a good leader and manager, and most importantly, a good friend to a lot of people within and outside the Association. We are going to miss him. Believe me, I will.
Robert J. Brandes, TWCA President in San Antonio. We have a planning committee appointed for this event, and it looks like we will have a special dinner to honor Leroy on Thursday evening, October 15th. So mark your calendars. This will be a special occasion that I know many present and past members of the Association will want to attend and give Leroy a sendoff in style to those lazy days of retirement that he so richly deserves. On another note, Leroy and Assistant General Manager Dean Robbins were authorized by the Board of Directors at its December meeting to explore the employment of a new staff member for the Association to assist with the transition process as Leroy phases out his tenure and to begin to assume some of the management workload of the Association along with Dean. I am excited to announce that they have offered a position to Stacey Steinbach, and present plans are for Stacey to come on board in June of this year. Stacey is no stranger to the water business in Texas, particularly as it relates to TWCA, having served as the Executive Director of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts since 2011. In this role, she has effectively managed all aspects of the affairs of TAGD, giving her valuable experience that should directly benefit the Association. Stacey previously worked as an attorney at the Texas General Land Office, where she represented the agency on matters related to coastal law, state boundaries, and natural resource issues. She also has experience working with numerous Texas water districts on issues involving water quality, water supply, water rights, and the laws governing local government entities through her previous work as an attorney in private practice. Stacey holds a bachelor of science degree in biology and ecology from Baylor University, a master of science in wildlife and fisheries Continued on page 4
The Association is indebted to Leroy Goodson, and we are planning to show our appreciation for his many years of service to TWCA at our Fall Meeting at the Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel 3
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Continued from page 3 sciences from Texas A&M University, and a juris doctorate from the University of Montana School of Law. I am happy to welcome Stacey to TWCA, and we look forward to working with her in the future to advance the Association’s mission. As many of you are acutely aware, we are in the midst of the 84th Legislative Stacey Steinbach session, actually about a third of the way through. With new leadership in the Senate, committee chairs have been named, with Senator Charles Perry the new chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs and Senator Troy Fraser the chair of the Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development. These are committees where most water-related bills will likely emerge and be discussed. On the House side, Representative Jim Keffer will chair the Natural Resources Committee, the committee most likely to address bills dealing with water issues. Many water-related bills have been filed in both chambers, and Dean has been monitoring these on behalf of the Association through his periodic Legislative
Reports. At last count, Dean already had over 130 bills on his watch list. Several of the groundwater bills that TWCA’s groundwater committee crafted over the past year or so are among those that have been filed. These include HB655, HB930, HB950, HB1221, and HB1248. Now is the time to begin to pay special attention to the activities of the Legislature as bills are being discussed in committee meetings and TWCA 2014 formulated for consideration by the House and the MID-YEAR Senate. Dean already has attended several CONFERENCE committee meetings and discussed various waterrelated bills with legislative staffs. As these bills move forward, Dean will continue to keep us advised as to their status through his Legislative Reports. If you want to subscribe, feel free to contact Dean directly. On a closing note, I want to invite each of you to attend the Association’s 2015 Annual Convention at the Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol in Austin during March 4 through 6. We have an exciting program planned, with presentations by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hager; Brigadier General David Hill, Commander of the South-western Division of the Corps of Engineers; Christi Craddick, Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission; State Senator Charles Perry; State Representative Jim Keffer; and State Representative Wayne Smith. An update on TWCA’s groundwater legislation also will be presented by Brian Sledge and Hope Wells, co-chairs of the Association’s groundwater committee. We also have a dinner program planned for Thursday evening when special awards and recognition will be presented to members and friends of the Association. We look forward to seeing you there.
Welcom e to the Hors eshoe Ba y Resor t
You are Cordially Invited to a Reception Thursday, March 5 6:00 to 7:00 pm Capital View Terrace Generously Sponsored by
Case Spotlight: Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC v City of Lubbock By Jason Hill and James Aldredge
What does it mean to purchase “full and exclusive” rights of access and use of the surface of real property for exploration and production of the groundwater below? When the Supreme Court of Texas decided Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day in 2012, did it intend to bring all of the antecedent legal concepts of mineral estates, and their relationships with the associated surface estates, over into Texas groundwater law as well? If ownership of groundwater in Texas is now completely analogous to ownership (and presumably appropriate management) of hydrocarbons, are the legal assumptions underpinning today’s groundwater regulation scheme that have been made over the past century now flawed?
the hereinafter described tracts of land, situated in Bailey County, Texas, together with the exclusive right to take such water from said tracts of land and to use the same for disposition to cities and towns situated in Bailey, Cochran, Hockley, Lamb and Lubbock Counties, Texas, together with the full and exclusive rights of ingress and egress in, over, and on said lands, so that the Grantee of said water rights may at any time and location drill water wells and test wells on said lands for the purpose of investigating, exploring[,] producing, and getting access to percolating and underground water; together with the rights to string, lay, construct, and maintain water and fuel pipelines and trunk, collector, and distribution water lines, power lines, communication lines, air vents with barricades, observation wells with barricades, if required, not exceeding ten (10) square feet of surface area, reservoirs, booster Continued on page 6
These are questions being asked and implicated in a quiet, but potentially raucous case currently awaiting the attention of the Supreme Court of Texas in Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC v. City of Lubbock. History of the dispute Over 60 years ago the Purtell family—owners of a 26,000 acre-tract of land in rural Bailey County (the “Purtell Tract”)—sold the groundwater in place below the surface of the Purtell Tract, and several rights of access across and within the Purtell Tract, to the City of Lubbock, as memorialized in the following language from the 1953 deed reporting the conveyance: “[A]nd by these presents do Grant, Sell and Convey unto the said CITY OF LUBBOCK, a municipal corporation of Lubbock County, Texas, all of the percolating and underground water in, under, and that may be produced from Photo of Purtell Tract in 2015 courtesy of the City of Lubbock.
Coyote Lake Ranch Case
However, in 2012 and 2013, Lubbock developed and proposed a well field plan to expand its groundwater production to other parts of the Purtell Tract. In preparation for drilling test wells, the City mowed a number of paths from existing ranch roads through grass to the proposed test well sites. CLR protested the City’s effort. It complained that its cattle started using the newly mowed paths as trails instead of other livestock trails on the property, thus trampling what grass remained. It complained that that the surface of the Purtell Tract hosted native grasses that served as habitat for the endangered Lesser Prairie Chicken, and that the City’s efforts to exercise its property rights interfered with CLR’s plans to obtain a formal state designation of the Purtell Tract as a Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat. Moreover, CLR complained that the City’s exploration activities, such as the installation of drilling rigs, mowing and blading of grass, developing paths and roads to accommodate access to drill sites, and installation of power lines and other needed infrastructure,would damage the surface of the Purtell Tract and interfere with CLR’s other uses of the property. CLR also complained that the creation of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District upset all the assumptions behind the Purtell’s 1953 conveyance to the City, alleging that “[t]he formation of the [High Plains Water District] was neither anticipated nor expected at the time of the 1953 conveyances.”2 CLR eventually sued the City in Bailey County District Court in 2013. While CLR asserted various causes of action in its lawsuit—inverse condemnation, breach of contract, negligence, and declaratory judgment—the foundation of all CLR’s claims rested on a novel question to groundwater law in Texas: does the City of Lubbock have a common (or court-made) law obligation to accommodate CLR’s uses of the Purtell Track by implementing reasonable alternative means of producing groundwater from below the surface? In other words, does CLR benefit from the oil and gas law concept of “accommodation”? The 287th District Court in Bailey County said “yes” in December 2013 when it issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the City from mowing, blading, or destroying grass on the Purtell Tract, from proceeding with any test well drilling without CLR’s prior approval, and from installing power lines on the Purtell Tract to power the City’s well production activities. Lubbock filed an interlocutory appeal to the Amarillo Court of Appeals. Both the City of Lubbock
Continued from page 5 stations, houses for employees, and access roads on, over and under said lands necessary or incidental to any of said operations, together with the right to erect necessary housing for wells, equipment and supplies, together with perpetual easements for all such purposes, together with the rights to use all that part of said lands necessary or incidental to the taking of percolating and underground water and the production, treating and transmission of water therefrom and delivery of said water to the water system of the City of Lubbock only.”1 Some years later, the Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC (or “CLR”) acquired what was left of the remaining surface property rights to the Purtell Tract and began using the property to purportedly graze cattle. Lubbock began producing groundwater from a portion of the property soon after acquiring it from the Purtells. The City has since continually produced groundwater from that field throughout the years.
and Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC agreed that the court of appeals needed to answer only one question for the case to be resolved: does the oil and gas law “accommodation doctrine” apply to property ownerCity of Lubbock when exercising its rights in the Purtell Tract in opposition to property owner-CLR?
a surface owner’s use of the surface estate. The burden is on the surface estate owner to show that such alternative methods are available under established practices in the industry. There is no accommodation doctrine in Texas groundwater law… yet CLR argued on appeal that because the Supreme Court used oil and gas common law to describe the fundamentals of groundwater ownership under the rule of capture in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day, 3 the court imposed the accommodation doctrine on groundwater production by implication.4 The City responded that the case should be governed by the express terms of the bargain reached between the Purcell’s and the City over 60 years ago—specifically through the 1953 deed language cited above. And regardless, the City argued, nothing in Day, and nothing before that decision, creates a dominant and servient relationship between a groundwater estate and a surface estate, respectively. Without such a distinction, the City claimed, there is no basis for courts to create duties of accommodation. The Amarillo Court of Appeals agreed with the City that no court in Texas, including the Supreme Court in Day, has completed the bridge between oil and gas ownership, on one hand, and groundwater ownership on the other hand, to the degree CLR has asked it to do. The Amarillo Court noted that nothing in Day touches on any implied rights of a groundwater estate owner, nor creates a dominant and subservient relationship between groundwater estates and surface estates. Instead, the Amarillo Court of Appeals concluded in its July 2014 decision that “[i]f Day is to be read to support such an extension of its analogy between groundwater and oil and gas, then this Court respectfully defers to the Texas Supreme Court to recognize and pronounce such an extension, especially in light of the dramatic implications it could have in the area of water law in Texas.” The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s order temporarily enjoining the City and remanded the case for trial on any remaining issues. Appeal is pending to the Supreme Court of Texas On September 24, 2014, CLR appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. CLR argues that because the Supreme Court based its decision in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day to apply an ownership-inplace doctrine to groundwater on the principle that Continued on page 31
CRMWD’s Raw Water Production Facility
Photo of Purtell Tract in 2015 The accommodation doctrine in Texas oil and gas law Texas courts have long recognized that the fee simple estate of a single piece of property can be separated vertically into a surface estate and a mineral estate. Texas has also long recognized that when mineral estate ownership is separated from the surface, the mineral estate becomes “the dominant estate in the sense that use of as much of the [surface] as is reasonably necessary to produce and remove the minerals is held to be impliedly authorized by [a mineral] lease.”1 But as courts wrestled with disputes between mineral lessees and surface owners, the common law in Texas developed to say that the dominant rights of the mineral estate are not always absolute with regard to the surface estate.2 Out of this string of rationale was born the accommodation doctrine, which says the broad production and exploration rights implied in leases of a dominant mineral estate must be exercised with “due regard for”—i.e., by accommodating—the rights of the owner of the servient estate when such accommodation can be done by using other available, non-interfering production and exploration means. Under the accommodation doctrine, a mineral lessee may be required to adopt alternative production and exploration methods to accommodate 7
El Nino Update... On the Cusp By Jeffrey Lindner, Meterologist Harris County Flood Control District At this time last year, Texans were hopeful that a forecasted moderate to strong El Nino would develop in the Pacific Ocean and help supply moisture to a parched state suffering from years of drought. El Nino, or the warming of the sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean generally from the west coast of South America to the areas south of Hawaii, was forecast by several global forecast models to develop and intensify last fall into the winter of 20142015. During the summer of 2014 forecast models began to suggest an increasing likelihood of a weak El Nino instead of the initially predicted moderate to strong El Nino. Sea surface temperature anomalies across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean have been running above normal since late last spring and this trend has continued in early 2015. Sea surface temperature anomalies generally peaked in the late fall and early winter of 2014 and have shown a gradual cooling trend early in 2015 especially in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America. Of the four Nino regions where sea surface temperature
anomalies are monitored, three of those regions have shown anomalies near or above the El Nino threshold of .5C above normal. While sea surface temperatures have been at or near the threshold of El Nino during the past few months, the coupling of the atmosphere to the warmer ocean conditions have failed to completely materialize. This includes no significant weakening of the easterly trade winds across the eastern or central Pacific Ocean which usually is an indicator of El Nino and helps to build positive sea surface temperature anomalies as upwelling off the western coast of Mexico is decreased. Additionally, thunderstorm activity which would normally increase over the central and eastern Pacific Ocean during El Nino conditions has been minimal and focused across the western Pacific. While sea surface temperatures have been near the El Nino threshold the atmosphere over the central and eastern Pacific has not coupled with the ocean conditions. Generally for a full fledge El Nino episode, the ocean and atmosphere need to couple and work together which includes a weakening of the easterly
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 The Quarry Golf Club
Photo by Barbara Payne
trade winds and repositioning of tropical thunderstorm activity over the central and eastern Pacific. While El Nino conditions have not officially developed in the Pacific, weather patterns across the southwest United States and the southern plains including Texas have tended to favor an El Nino pattern from late fall into early 2015. Precipitation across much of southwest and west Texas into New Mexico and Arizona has been averaging near to above normal over the past few months. Temperature departures averaged below normal in November and January and above normal in December. El Nino generally brings cooler and wetter conditions to the southwest and southern United States during the fall, winter and spring month. The following table shows the monthly rainfall and departures from normal along with the temperature departure from normal for November, December, and January for Houston, Austin, and Brownsville:
In addition to the recent rainfall and temperatures trends across the southwest and southern plains, the 2014 hurricane seasons in the both the Atlantic and eastern Pacific basins closely correlated with El Nino. The eastern Pacific basin produced 20 tropical storms of which 14 became hurricanes while the Atlantic basin produced 8 tropical storms of which 6 became hurricanes. The 2014 eastern Pacific hurricane season was the most active on record since 1992 and the fourth most active since reliable records have been kept El Nino typically produced increased upper level wind shear across the Atlantic basin reducing the number and intensity of tropical cyclones, while warmer than normal waters
across the tropical eastern Pacific help foster tropical cyclone formation. Recent observations across the eastern and central Pacific Ocean suggest that El Nino may still attempt to fully develop this spring and the current NOAA outlook gives a 50-60% chance of that occurring. However the formation of El Nino and coupling of the ocean and atmosphere becomes increasingly less likely during the spring and summer months suggesting that the current neutral conditions in the Pacific may be the more likely outcome. Rainfall across Texas for the next three months is forecast to be near normal over the eastern part of the state and Continued on page 14 9
Framework” to acknowledge and address these concerns. For many years, communities contended that EPA’s framework (produced in 1997) required an unaffordability case that was too rigid by focusing primarily on utility costs as a percentage of median household income, and needed to portray more accurately the circumstances facing communities with costly Clean Water Act obligations. After ongoing lobbying efforts by owners of Publicly-Owned Treatment Works (“POTWs”) and advocacy groups such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the EPA provided updates to its affordability analysis in November 2014. These updates should help regulated entities frame their compliance obligations and financial pressures in a more tailored manner, and in a way that ultimately results in better flexibility for all Clean Water Act obligations.
What’s Affordable? EPA Issues Updated Water Affordability Guidance
Fundamentally, the framework represents the federal government’s evaluation of a local government’s (and their citizens’) ability to pay, and thus may seem paternalistic. However, many of the updates reflect a more local government-centric perspective rather than a dismissive, top-down edict.
By Nathan Vassar
Whether you run a business, government entity, or household, a variety of budgeting questions likely arise on a regular basis: “Can I afford that?” “Is this estimate too high?” “How much is ‘too much’ to pay for rent?” “If purchased, will others also bear the cost?” There are opportunity costs associated with any purchase, and most of us use guidelines unique to our circumstances to decide whether certain purchases are affordable and necessary, in light of all priorities. A broken refrigerator should demand attention before replacing aging windows; that 1990s pickup truck may serve its purpose much longer so that you can afford new shingles to help with that leaky roof. Most people logically make major purchasing decisions by considering what fits within their budget; and which projects need attention first. For government entities with Clean Water Act obligations, compliance costs, when considered in the aggregate (for wastewater collection, treatment, stormwater, and potable water), may seem unaffordable. Nevertheless, utility directors do not have an option to punt on permit compliance. For many, an unaffordability “escape hatch” would be welcomed, and could come in the form of extended schedules or more appropriate compliance requirements when a community and its ratepayers are already bearing a significant burden. Fortunately, such relief is available as the EPA has recently updated its “Financial Capability Assessment
Several highlights of the revised guidance are worth attention. In support of their affordability approach, regulated communities may present a variety of information relevant both to the financial strength of the community as well as residential impacts. These include, among others: income distribution by geography, quintile, or other examples, such as background for unique rate structures for lower income customers; water/wastewater usage rates by ratepayer classes or dwelling unit types; service area-based poverty rates/trends; customer payment delinquency rates; rate/revenue models; 10
population trends/projections; and, historical rate increases. In short, a community has a platform to present many of its unique challenges concerning the nature of its ratepayers and ratepayer classes. Other considerations include a host of existing debt circumstances (financing capabilities, debt ratios, debt service coverage, and similar), bonding health, and other “extraordinar y stressors” such as susceptibility to natural disasters and particularly unique capital market conditions, among others. Further, the guidance makes clear that EPA will also review costs for stormwater and Safe Drinking Water Act compliance when considering an affordability case. Thus, expensive Clean Water Act obligations will not be reviewed in a vacuum (which, in the past may have ignored cumulative budgeting effects), but may be presented comprehensively through the revised framework. What this new guidance means will vary depending upon one’s situation. If a MS4 or TPDES permit renewal is on the horizon, you should contemplate whether existing compliance costs plus additional requirements will stretch your utility’s budget (and your ratepayers’ purses). A robust affordability analysis along with an integrated compliance proposal across all water-related obligations may result in greater flexibility and longer schedules. By the same token, the affordability structure is useful in enforcement contexts to demonstrate the need for a more customized approach to compliance requirements and schedules. The new guidance presents opportunities to show why one’s financial circumstances are unique and may result in costs and schedules that are responsible to both ratepayers and the environment.
Welcome New Members EnviroMedia 2021 E. 5th St., Suite 150 Austin, TX 78702 Contact: Valerie Salinas-Davis email@example.com Jonathan Kleinman 8705 Mountainwood Circle Austin, TX 78759-7567 firstname.lastname@example.org Sutton County U.W.C.D. 301 S. Crockett Ave. Sonora, TX 76950-6818 Contact: Jim Polonis email@example.com IDE Americas, Inc. 106 E. 6th Street, Suite900 Austin, TX 78701 Contact: Mark Ellison Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Vassar is an Attorney at Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend P.C. Nathan practices in the Firm’s Water and Litigation Practice Groups, focusing on regulatory compliance, water quality issues, and water resources development. For inquiries concerning the EPA affordability framework, Integrated Planning, or other enforcement issues, please contact Nathan at email@example.com or (512) 322-5867
we asked you to give us a piece of your
mind by David Harkins, Ph.D., P.E. , Chair TWCA Membership Services Committee When the Membership Services Committee met during the October 2014 Conference in San Antonio, among the topics discussed was, “How do we learn more about what TWCA members want in the way of meeting agendas and formats.” What provoked this question was the trial “concurrent session” format we had recommended for the October Conference. Did members notice and appreciate the choice? Did it work out logistically? And is this expanded format something that resonated with the attendees? We ecognized that -- short of posting our committee members outside the meeting room doors with clip boards to query exiting attendees -- getting a valid snapshot of reactions/opinions would be hit or miss at best. Still, probing for opinions and suggestions was given high priority by the Committee. While we were at it, we decided to include one or two general questions about TWCA meetings in general and to solicit suggestions. Thanks to the assistance of TWCA’s Lisa Henley, we obtained contact information for all attendees, and crafted an evaluation survey that we sent our by e-mail following the meeting. We knew we wouldn’t get a 100 percent response, but felt the potential information to be gained was worth the effort. The responses started coming in almost immediately, and ultimately we heard from just under 20 percent of the attendees. Not a record-breaking response...but a little better than the average for an external survey...and we got some very useful feedback. Here are the questions and responses....
How often do you attend TWC conferences? Rarely 0% Whenever my schedule permits 43.7% Always 56.2% How much does the conference agenda influence your decision to attend? Very little 23.4% Some influence 56.2% Agenda is my primary decision factor 20.3% How would you rate the October 2014 Conference? Not many topics interested me 4.6% I attended some sessions but mainly attended for the networking 34.3% This was an excellent meeting; enjoyed both sessions and networking 60.9% This meeting featured concurrent sessions on Thursday afternoon. How do you rate this option on a scale of 1 - 5? (1= I didn’t like it at all; 2 = I didn’t notice the option; 3 = I found it hard to choose between sessions; 4 = I would like to give it another try; and 5 = A great option...please offer it again.) 1 -- 3.1% 2 -- 4.7% 3 -- 17.2% 4 -- 46.9% 5 -- 28.1% Many of the respondents added a comment or suggestion. This provided some good insight into the overall attitude of participants as well as some useful suggestions. 12
Here are some of the remarks ... Do you have any suggestions to help improve TWCA conferences? I think the more we can offer diverse and relevant continuing education topics we will be able to attract more members. It is also likely to help get agencies and organizations to send younger members; which is an important factor so that TWCA is not left with a brain drain at any point. Bring in at least one or two national figures for each conference to let folks know what is going on in the rest of the world....What innovative water management strategies are being utilized elsewhere that might be of interest to Texas. Provide the speaker bios in printed literature instead of reading them during the sessions. This only takes time away from what could be used by the speakers. It is a very unique Conference focusing on both technical and political aspects of the industry.... Keep up the good work. Your topics for discussion are always excellent. TWCA’s Membership Services Committee will continue to solicit information about topics of interest to the general membership and to conduct periodic surveys and evaluations to measure how we’re doing. Our Committee has grown significantly in size this past year, and we are delighted to have new and diverse input into our planning and communications assignments. Another of our ongoing efforts is to visit with other Committees and Panels during TWCA meetings to invite dialogue and an exchange of ideas about the organization’s programs and procedures. Look for red ribbons on the meeting badges to identify Membership Services members. Visitors are always welcome at our meetings! 13
TWCA Member Serves as National WateReuse Association President Bob Johnson, a member of the TWCA Board of Directors since 2001 has been elected to serve as the President of the WateReuse Association. Bob is currently a Principal with McManus & Johnson Consulting Engineers, LLC. McManus & Johnson is a Civil Engineering Firm serving municipalities and water agencies in Texas. The WRA is a trade organization that includes more than 400 members in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The WateReuse Association is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the beneficial and efficient uses of highquality, locally produced, sustainable water sources for the betterment of society and the environment through advocacy, education and outreach, research, and membership. Congratulations to Bob on this achievement and best wishes.
from the recent winter rainfall. The longer term hydrological drought continues to hold firm over much of central Texas and the highland lakes into north Texas. The current combined storage of both lakes Travis and Buchanan is only 36%. 2014 featured the second lowest inflow into the highland lakes on record with only 209,023 acre-feet (17% of average). The only lower inflow was in the devastating drought of 2011 with 127,082 acre-feet (11% of average). Of the top ten lowest inflows into the highland lakes, seven have occurred since 2006 with the top three occurring in 2011, 2013, and 2014.
El Nino Update Continued from page 9 slightly above normal across the central and western areas with temperatures generally near to below normal. Currently 56% of the state of Texas is considered in drought which is down from 87% this time last year. Drought conditions remain in place across much of the panhandle into north and central Texas and the coastal bend. Drought conditions have greatly improved over eastern Texas and west Texas
METEOROLOGIST JEFF LINDNER
Time series of area-averaged sea surface temperatures (SST) anomalies (degrees C) in the Nino regions (Nino1+2(O degrees-10 degrees, 90 degrees W-80 degrees W); Nino 3 (5 degrees N-5 degrees S, 150 degrees W 90 degrees W); Nino -3-4 (5 degrees N- 5 degrees S, 170 degrees W-120 degrees W); Nino-4 (5 degrees N- 5 degrees S, 150 degrees W - 160 degrees E). SST anomalies are departures from thje 1981-2010 base period weekly means.
Joining the Harris County Flood Control District in 2004 as the District’s first meteorologist is one of many precedents set by Jeff Lindner. In his primary role as manager of the District’s Flood Watch Program, Jeff implements regular communication with the National Weather Service and the Harris County Office of Emergency Management (HCOEM) during times of flooding while monitoring 140 rainfall and stage gages and collecting data at over 400 bridges located on many of Harris County’s 2,500 miles of channel. In addition he oversees the operation of the Harris County Flood Warning System and the Regional Flood ALERT Partners group as well as establishing flood levels for all 140 gage sites in Harris County. Jeff also held the Regional Coordinator for CoCoRaHS for six years in southeast Texas and has developed multiple presentations and preparedness materials on hurricane impacts, flooding, and drought and how to prepare and respond to these weather episodes. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from Texas A&M University. He is a member of the national and local chapters of the American Meteorological Society and of the Texas Gulf Coast Emergency Managers Association, the National Hydrological Warning Council, Texas Flash Flood Coalition, and ALERT Users Group.
TWCA FOLKS RECEIVE NATIONAL WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION (NWRA) AWARDS Three individuals representing the Texas Water Conservation Association (TWCA) received awards at the NWRA recent Annual Conference, November 12-14, 2014 in Coronado, California. James M. “Jim” Parks and Jerry Clark both received Honorary Life Memberships for their service and participation with NWRA. In addition, Leroy Goodson received the John M. Sayers Leadership Award. Jim Parks recently retired as General Manager of the North Texas Municipal Water District. He was very active in NWRA and presented several programs at NWRA conventions and meetings. He also served TWCA as an alternate Director to NWRA for many years. Jerry Clark was a long-time NWRA Director representing TWCA and was very active in the activities of NWRA. He recently retired as General Manager of the Sabine River Authority of Texas. Both men are past presidents of TWCA and are members of the TWCA Board of Directors. Both have received Honorary Life Memberships in TWCA. Leroy Goodson is the long-time General Manager of TWCA and had served on the Board of Directors of NWRA for the past nineteen (19) years. Leroy has previously received the NWRA’s Distinguished Service Award, the President’s Award and Honorary Life Membership Award. In addition to the awards, Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) Chairman Carl Rubinstein presented an outstanding program on the Texas Water Plan and House Bill 4, the State Water Implementation Fund, the procedures, methods, and mechanics of its implementation. PHOTOS... op right: Thomas Kula, General Manager, North Texas Municipal Water district presenting James “Jim” Parks with a plaque from National Water Resources Association (NWRA) for “Lifetime Achievement Award” Mr. Parks was unable to attend the NWRA meeting, so Mr. Kula brought the plaque back and presented it to Jim Parks (retired GM for North Texas Municipal Water District). Center right:Cliff Todd (Board member, Sabine River Authority of Texas) presents the NRWA Lifetime Acievement award to Jerry Clark, retired General Manager of Sabine River Authority of Texas,
Above: Leroy Goodson, left, received the John Sayer Leadership Award at NWRA recent Annual Conference, November 12-14, 2014 in Coronado, California. 15
New classroom planned at gorge to teach the story of water By Barbara Elmore
as the Guadalupe River Foundation applies for grants. The organization instrumental in planning the learning center, Guadalupe Blanco River Authority, manages a 10-county district stretching from Kendall County in Central Texas to Refugio and Calhoun counties on the Gulf Coast. The location for the learning center in the upper part of the basin fell into place when the land adjacent to the gorge became available, said LaMarriol Smith, GBRA’s executive manager for Strategic Communications and Public Affairs. “The beauty of that site is its location, near both the gorge and our primary water supply at Canyon Reservoir. It’s a location that made sense.” When news broke about the gorge carved by flooding, people worldwide clamored to see it. It took time for the story to unfold, as historic rainfall produced widespread, long-lasting devastation. The GBRA and the Army Corps of Engineers, already jointly managing Canyon Reservoir, extended their partnership to the gorge. GBRA assumed a 25-year lease as manager, and by 2007 began offering tours into the gorge. Cinde Thomas-Jimenez, GBRA’s environmental education administrator, was the first person
At Canyon Lake Gorge, a deep schism in the ground formed by flooding in 2002, educators tell the story of water—where it comes from, where it goes, its power to destroy and renew, and man’s attempts to harness it. When funding flows in for construction of an educational complex at this site in Comal County, the water story will be enhanced, expanded and told for years to come in a center overlooking this natural wonder. Important foundations are already in place: a system of trails for students and the general public to hike on and learn about Mother Earth; a network of volunteers who nurture the area like their own back yard; ideas for educational displays and programs; and the gorge itself. No ground will be broken for the learning center until the nonprofit Guadalupe River Foundation, formed in 2012 to increase the public’s knowledge of the Guadalupe River Basin, has banked enough money to pay for the center’s estimated $5.5 million to $6.5 million construction cost and ongoing maintenance. But the center inches closer to reality 16
to train guides and lead the tours. She also helped establish the nonprofit Gorge Preservation Society. Then GBRA bought the 21 acres adjacent to the gorge and prepared for development.
demonstrate the drop in elevation and how waters flow to the bay in the 10 counties that GBRA manages. She envisions a map on the ground with actual water flowing through it, turned off when no one is there to see it. “This would show how Canyon Lake is a storage reservoir for the water supply, and how the waters flow to the bay,” she said. She also envisions an exhibit hall dedicated to water conservation and a rainwater harvesting system attached to the building, collecting water to use for landscaping. “In the grand scheme of things, we would be able to host classes for adults,” with topics like well maintenance, rainwater harvesting, septic tank maintenance for water quality, and landowner workshops to offer ideas for protecting the water supply. This education would build on ongoing programs for children. A recent grant from the New Braunfels-based McKenna Foundation allowed three organizations—the Gorge Preservation Society, GBRA, and the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country—to bring fifth graders from Comal County schools to the gorge and the museum for a hands-on field day. Four schools visited in October 2014 with two more scheduled in March 2015.
The study of water Water is only one subject that people would study at the proposed learning center, but it plays the biggest part in this story. Water created the gorge, scooping out giant boulders and dirt to unearth ancient fossils. The excavation formed by the flooding reaches 50 feet deep in some places and extends for about a mile. When people were able to explore the gorge, they found dinosaur tracks from more than 100 million years ago.
The site for the learning center features a hill that overlooks the gorge and is within walking distance to the Canyon Reservoir and dam, said ThomasJimenez. “With Canyon as our major reservoir, we can pull in a lot of concepts that we want people to be familiar with, such as why we built the dam, the Trinity and Edwards aquifers that feed into the river system, and Comal Springs in New Braunfels. Comal County is very water-rich, so this spot is ideal.” She sees the gorge as an outdoor laboratory for people to view the aquifer system, which includes natural falls and areas in which streams and ponds form, disappear, then reappear. “It is interesting to see the emergence of water. Then it disappears and comes out again.” Some of the water moves from the lake, but it also emerges from natural seeps that are part of the groundwater system, she said. Her wish list for future educational exhibits includes a model of the river basin, which would
The grant paid for school buses to bring about 500 students as well as an additional restroom, picnic tables, and safety improvements in the gorge. The students gathered fossils for identification and learned about erosion, Thomas-Jimenez said, getting a hands-on earth science education. Continued on page 20 17
Courtesy of TWCA Risk Management Fund
District Boards of Trustees have one employee whose replacement they must plan for and that is the general manager. Although it may seem awkward to begin a discussion years in advance of a planned retirement, the need for a fully developed succession plan can arise at any time. The plan also works extremely well if it is implemented according to the timing of a retirement. In addition to the Trustees, the district itself has the need for succession planning for the leadership and knowledge positions that make the district function effectively for its clients and community.
A wave of retirements is approaching many water districts in Texas. Some of the transitions have been anticipated and well planned. Other changes could occur suddenly and tragically. In all cases the succession of the general manager poses certain risks to the district that may not be completely eliminated, but can be reduced or mitigated. One important risk management tool to reduce the risk to water districts from the planned or unplanned loss of key leaders or knowledge positions is a comprehensive succession plan. Risks associated with the loss of leadership in management or technical areas usually involve the loss of opportunity, momentum and relationships. Planning and implementation processes grind to a halt for a while as new leadership is emplaced. Priorities and projects change. Knowledge about who to call for help or what to do to fix a technical issue vanishes. Though not fatal, disruptions like these can result in diminished effectiveness, loss of morale and lost income. These are significant risks when a district is operating in an environment where every drop of water is in demand and new supplies and infrastructure are critical. 18
Our Appreciation and Thanks to the Following Sponsors: For Sponsoring the President’s Breakfast
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The elements of an effective succession plan include: · Identification of positions for which succession planning is essential · A process to identify potential for advancement into leadership or knowledge positions of people in the current organizational chart – a kind of depth chart or bench of talent · Enumeration of the knowledge and qualities necessary to assume leadership positions · A mentoring and educational process for the people identified with potential · Involvement of all levels of management in the process · Consideration of succession potential in the evaluations given to staff · Consideration of the cascade effect when a leader leaves the organization. Where do the duties and responsibilities go after a departure? The Board of Trustees should also work with the current general manager to develop a philosophy of succession based on the leadership potential of existing staff, grooming of a replacement, the use of a search firm or an open application process.
For Sponsoring the Coffee Breaks For Sponsoring the Name Badges
For more information about important Risk Management topics, please visit http://www.twcarmf.org/ 19
interconnectedness between ground and surface water.” Another piece of education shows the different types of land through which water travels, she said. Giving people a more complete water picture illustrates Texas’ future challenges in terms of water quality and quantity. She hopes the knowledge will lead to people using water wisely on an everyday basis. Planners also included community ideas and needs and added key local residents to the Guadalupe River Foundation board of directors. Rusty Brockman, a GBRA board member for Comal County, is one of the appointees to the GRF board. As director of economic development for the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and a retired educator, Brockman has a stage for gathering support for the learning center. He likes the idea of sharing both ancient history and today’s lake with visitors worldwide. “The gorge and the history are part of the reason we have been able to garner so much attention. It’s nice to have that. When people come to take the tour, they will enjoy a world-class educational facility as well.” Other members of the volunteer GRF board are David Welsch of Seguin, the executive manager of Business Development and Resource Management for GBRA; Thomas-Jimenez; and Smith, who is the board’s interim executive director. “We want to add more people who have community connections and are interested in development of the environmental learning center,” Smith said.
Gorge Education Center Planned Continued from page 17 GBRA offers free award-winning educational materials to schools. Through the GRF, the learning center will support and expand upon concepts presented in those curriculum materials.
Wish list Thomas-Jimenez and Smith spent about six months investigating learning centers before developing a wish list for the GBRA complex. Architectural drawings show the area adjacent to the gorge off of the South Access Road near Hidden Valley Sports Park. Native gardens, oak trees, a courtyard basin, rainwater cisterns and nature trails surround three buildings. One building would house offices, another classrooms, and a third, exhibits. The educational staff considered statemandated education requirements that teachers must meet and looked at big picture concepts. “We visited quite a few centers in Central Texas,” said ThomasJimenez. “We want people to walk away with an understanding of the river system and the
Volunteers crucial Volunteers are instrumental in building a trail system that links with other nearby trails. The previous landowner had cleared cedar from the property and left behind dozens of large debris piles. “We wanted to do something with the branches,” ThomasJimenez said. A contractor mulched the trees and the volunteers formed the mulch into trails, then defined the trails with logs. “In the long run, the trails will be used by the general public and school groups when we get the property open,” Thomas-Jimenez said. The trails connect with those at the nearby Tye Preston 20
environment. “There is unique topography on the property. We wanted to work with that, not recreate it,” Bogle said. “Also, the access to it is important. The access has to consider cars and school buses and has to minimize the impact on the property.” Even though the gorge is known worldwide, said Bogle, some local residents still have not gone to see it. “It’s not on their radar yet. Once the learning center is built, it will be a wonderful piece of the puzzle to tell people more about the Canyon Lake area — the heritage, history, geology and paleontology.” To learn more about environmental educational programming available through the GRF and GBRA partnership, please contact Thomas-Jimenez at 830379-5822. People who want to offer financial assistance for the center or nominate a person for the GRF board may contact LaMarriol Smith at the same number.
Memorial Library and with others developed by the Gorge Preservation Society adjacent to the gorge. Workers are members of the Lindheimer Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists in New Braunfels, coordinated by Art Williams. Between five to 10 volunteers work an average of three hours a week at the site, said Thomas-Jimenez. “Many of them have done work in the gorge and at the library, so they are familiar with the site,” she said. Some of them have volunteered hundreds of hours in the adjacent sites. This key group of volunteers has expressed an interest in continuing their association with the site by lending their expertise in nature to visitors when the ELC is complete. Planners created them with safety and emergency rescue in mind, Thomas-Jimenez said. “If someone sprains an ankle in the gorge, we wanted to be able to get an ATV in and get that person out. We incorporated an emergency trail within the system.” Susan Bogle, a volunteer gorge guide and board member for the Tye Preston Memorial Library, participated in early community discussions and helped pull together the future learning center’s neighbors — the library, the GPS and a nearby recreation center, said Thomas-Jimenez. A community meeting attracted many people who contributed ideas, but GBRA already had done a lot of research, Bogle said. “From that perspective I saw how committed GBRA is to this endeavor.” When it came to choosing an architect, the community wanted a firm that would respect the
Barbara Elmore is a freelance writer for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority
TWCA Carries Texas Priority Water Issues to Congress By J. Tom Ray, Lockwood, Andrews, Newnam, Inc., Chair, TWCA Federal Affairs Committee
It would be nice to ignore the consternation and politics rampant in Washington, DC right now and just stay in Texas, but that also means that our Texas Delegation, not hearing of our TWCA-selected priority issues, may also overlook helping address Texas water issues. Texas Water Day 2015 brought the Texas water priorities to the Texas Delegation, key Congressional Committee Members and staff as well as the leadership of the USGS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and EPA. With every issue being debated, the Texas message hinged on the recognition that water and water supplies are vital to the nation’s interest. Through persistence in delivering a dependable message on the impacts of federal actions on Texas water management, the influence of TWCA at the federal level has increased. Each Water Day, we gain the interest and participation of additional Texas Delegation Members; each year we have had the strong support of federal water resources agencies at the top management levels. It is a willingness to communicate our Texas issues and a willingness to explain, listen in return, and follow-up that has built participation. As a result, TWCA has established influential contacts not only within the Texas delegation and with key water-related Committee staff but also with Corps of Engineers, USGS, and Bureau of Reclamation. Those contacts are now paying off. Those TWCA members who participate hear from but also have occasion to be heard. Particularly during the evening Reception, Members, their staff,
leadership of the USACE and USGS are available in a relaxed atmosphere to visit one-on-one. We were privileged again this year, to have LG Thomas Bostick, 53rd Chief of Engineers of the United States Army and Commanding General of the USACE, and his second in command for Civil Works, MG John Peabody, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, as well as the Southwest Division Commander BG David Hill not only attended, they stayed and enjoyed the Texas hospitality. Texas Water Day over the Years Each year, Texas Water Day participants were equipped with the Texas’ federal priority water issues, a short-list of the contemporary federal issues, vented through the TWCA Federal Affairs Committee and the Texas Water Day Steering Committee challenged Texas’ water operations or future development. TWCA and Texas Water Day participants encourage Congressional members and staff to help Texas implement the Texas Water Plan. Implementation support in all forms—recognizing restricted federal funds but encouraging regulatory relief, sound science, and Congressional involvement in the federal selection and support for new federal water projects and modifications to existing ones. Tenth Annual Water Day, Texas Water Day 2015 With a full program of issue briefings, talks by Texas Delegation Members, and a well-attended Congressional Reception, Texas Water Day 2015 22
enjoyed the success of prior Texas Water Day events. Briefings The issues and concerns were reviewed at group meetings at the hotel on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. L’Oreal Stepney and Dan Delich reported on federal issues at the TCEQ and the new FFRMS, respectively. On Wednesday morning, Bob Slockbower and Ray Russo with Southwest Division gave an update on the status of the USACE’s Infrastructure Strategy. Speaker Series — Hearing from Texas Members, Committee Directors, and Federal Agency Mangers Coincidentally, a ‘rare’ joint hearing with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works on the proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), one of Texas’ key priority water issues, took place literally across the hall from our Speakers’ room. There was a full agenda of speakers—Texas House Members included Pete Session, who keynoted the event, Kay Granger, John Carter, Kevin Brady, Michael Conaway, Roger Williams, Henry Cuellar, Marc Veasey and Brian Babin. After the lead-off presentation by Associate Director Bill Werkheiser, a special recognition of the USGS was presented by Kevin Ward, General Manager of the Trinity River Authority. Bob Joseph, the Texas Director and long-time supporter of Texas Water Day, was given special recognition for his support of Texas water. Chairman Carlos Rubinstein of the Texas Water Development Board discussed the Mexico
water delivery situation and federal priorities of the TWDB. The leadership of both the USACE and the US Bureau of Reclamation spoke: Steve Stockton, USACE Director of Civil Works, and the newly confirmed Commissioner, Estevan R. Lopez of the Bureau of Reclamation. We also heard from Keil Weaver, Senior Staff Director of the Natural Resources newly organized Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. Dan Delich provided more details on the concerns, status and future response to the FFRMS. Congressional Reception Packed with Texas water managers, Corps military commanders and staff, Congressional staff, and many others supporting Texas water, the Reception hosted a number of Texas Delegation members with Senator John Cornyn headlining a respected group of Texas Representatives—Bill Flores, Rubin Hinojosa, Dr. Bill Burgess, and Randy Weber that greeted the group and gave brief remarks. LG Thomas Bostick, MG John Peabody, and Southwest Division Commander Paul Hill addressed the group. Join Us in Follow-up Efforts With Congress and the federal agencies, a one-time event is only a start. Even the best efforts at presenting the federal issues, require follow-up to keep the message current and out-front. For just that purpose, TWCA is planning a follow-up event. More on this later, as it develops, but please consider joining us either for the follow-up effort or for Texas Water Day 2016 or both! Continued on page 24
Issues Related to Regulatory Threats, Delays, and Expense
FEDERAL AFFAIRS... Continued from page 23 Highlighting the Texas Priority Water Issues Federal issues, whether long-standing such as USGS funding support or emerging such as recent proposed changes to the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS), are classified each year as related either as “Federal Support,” helping fund project or providing important federal services that support Texas water programs and projects, or as “Federal Regulatory Threats, Delays and Expense,” having the potential to delay project, affect Texas water primacy, or other negatives. This year’s priority issues are summarized in the margin boxes. Each Texas Delegation Member received a Briefing Paper that summarized the eleven issues, which were separated into a group that were supported and a group that considered to be threats. The “treat” group was substantially larger.
1. Floodplain Issues TWCA members are working to ensure that implementation of the recently issued FFRMS be delayed until the American public and Congress are informed. We ask for the Texas Delegation to recognize these issues and work with Texas water managers to produce open, balanced results.
Because of concerns with federal regulators working openly with Congress, the Texas Water Day Steering Committee added a postscript to this year’s priority issues:
3. Invasive Species US Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement of the Lacey Act must not be used as a pretext for interrupting long-established water supply arrangements. . We ask the Texas Delegation to support legislation that prevent federal actions under the Lacey Act from restricting water supply transfers.
2. EPA’s Clean Water Act Rulemaking TWCA is concerned that the CWA Rulemaking is another step by EPA to erode Texas’ primacy over its waters. We urge Congress to statutorily define the extent of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. We urge Congress to exert its oversight with regard to the future implementation of the WOTUS rule and to work toward a statutory definition of CWA jurisdiction
“In implementing federal statutes related to water resources, Congress, in exercising its oversight authority, should not be a footnote to the process. TWCA is concerned with some federal agencies’ lack of transparency and reluctance to respond openly to Congressional oversight. The following section identifies several regulatory issues that have caused delays or threaten timely implementation or current operations of Texas water resources projects. We urge the regulatory agencies to openly cooperate with Congress on such concerns and we ask Congress to demand the agencies do so.”
4. Endangered Species Citizen and special interest group lawsuits under the ESA threaten Texas’ long-established water management. We ask for continued efforts for reasonable ESA legislation to address these issues such as the previously introduced S. 19/ HR 1314. 5. Mexico Deficit Water Deliveries Mexico’s water deliveries to the Rio Grande have fallen short of Treaty requirements resulting in a water crisis for the Rio Grande Valley. We urge legislation to ensure deliveries from Mexico be introduced and supported as a bipartisan issue by the Texas Delegation. We ask Congress to monitor the State Department’s compliance in reporting on improving water deliveries from Mexico. 24
Issues Related to Federal Support 1. Adequate and Continued Funding for the National Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program The USGS National Streamflow Program (NSIP) and Cooperative Water Program (CWP) provide scientific information—accurate, reliable information critical to Texas water management. The USGS cost-sharing partnerships with the state and local governments are long-established and effective. We urge our Texas Congressional Delegation to continue federalpartnership funding of the NSIP and CWP programs. 2. Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) and Continued Biennial Re-authorizations TWCA supported the bipartisan efforts last Congress to pass the first comprehensive water resources bill since 2007 and further supports resumption of the regular, biennial WRDA reauthorization. We ask our Congressional Delegation to support (1) bi-annual or more frequent WRDA legislation and (2) oversight through the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee of prompt and balanced implementation of the recently enacted WRRDA. 3. Budget issues for Corps of Engineers (USACE), Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), and EPA State Revolving Fund (SRF) TWCA is appreciative of the modest increases for water resources investments in the FY15 Omnibus Appropriations bill for the Corps of Engineers; the Bureau of Reclamation; and for EPA’s Drinking Water and Clean Water SRF programs.
Top to bottom: Congressman Pete Session, Keynote remarks; Congressman Bill Flores and USACE Commanding General Thomas Bostick; and Senator John Cornyn addresses attendees at the Congressional Reception Continued on page 26 Tom Ray, of Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, has followed national water issues for more than 20 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We ask for the Texas Congressional Delegation’s continued support for water investments of the USACE, USGS, BOR and the EPA’s SRF programs. 25
Tom Ray and Congressman John “Judge” Carter
Congressman Henry Cuellar
Congressman Ruben Hinojosa
Congressman Kevin Brady 26
Congresswoman Kay Granger
Congressman Bruce Babin
Congressman Marc Veasey
Kevin Ward, TRA, presents award to Bob Joseph, TX Director USGS
Guests enjoy the Congressional Reception
Commissioner Estevan R. Lopez, Bureau of Reclamation
USACE Commanding General Thomas Bostick addresses Reception guests
WANTED: DROUGHT-RESISTANT WATER SOURCES By Eva Steinle-Darling, Ph.D., P.E., Water Reuse Lead Technologist, Carollo Engineers, Inc.* With record-breaking droughts on the West Coast and in the southwestern United States, many states must respond to water shortages of unparalleled magnitude. The recent drought in the Southwest region began in 2008. By 2011, Texas was experiencing its worst single-year drought in history, devastating ranchers and other agricultural users with an estimated $7.62 billion in losses for that year alone. The drought also caused a record number of wildfires that destroyed more than 3,000 homes, and left many communities that rely on surface water within days of running out of water. Traditionally, US drinking water comes from two sourcesâ€”two-thirds from surface water (rivers, lakes, and man-made reservoirs) and the remainder from groundwater. Across the Southwest, these resources have been stretched to their limits. Water systems had been straining to keep up with the demands of growing communities, even in the absence of record-breaking drought. Conservation as a first drought management strategy The intuitive and correct initial reaction to a limited water supply is to find ways to eliminate waste through water efficiency and conservation. Water efficiency is achieved by adopting measures that require less water for existing uses. For example, a 10-minute shower uses less water with a waterefficient showerhead, and native vegetation uses less water than an emerald-green lawn. Conservation, achieved through behavioral changes, can be implemented quickly during conditions of acute drought. For example, staged water use restrictions triggered by drought severity can serve to reduce water demands in the short-term. These can include prohibitions on car washing, irrigation, and filling swimming pools. But for some communities, this incremental approach isnâ€™t enough. Water conservation and efficiency measures may reduce water needs temporarily, but acute drought and/or a fast-growing community requires a wholesale paradigm shift regarding water supply.
Examining Alternative Water Supplies Water supply planning for communities under water stress must now include a variety of options. Conventional options include dam construction, water-rights purchases, development of additional well fields, and pipeline and pumping infrastructure to get water from point A to point B. However, none of these conventional methods constitute additional supply; they simply move existing supplies from one location to another, and some already have been fully used. Water-supply horizons must be broader and include alternatives that, until recently, might have seemed too expensive, complicated, or unappealing. These include developing previously undesirable groundwater sources (brackish or contaminated), seawater desalination, or the beneficial reuse of water reclamation plant effluent (much of which is released to surface water systems or the ocean).Compared with pulling water from a nearby lake, river, or well, these options may seem expensive and complex. However, when a well field is 60 miles away and downhill from a community or the river is across a mountain range from the point of intended use, the complexity and cost of traditional options often surpass those of new alternatives.
The Purple Pipe Evolution Beneficial water reuse isnâ€™t a recent development. Early US cities fertilized nearby farms with untreated sewage until synthetic fertilizers replaced its use. Agricultural use of water reclamation 28
plant effluent still represents a significant portion of the beneficially reused flow, such as the “city farms” maintained many Nor th and West Texas communities. In addition, many progressive utilities have developed networks of a dedicated infrastructure (purple pipe) to deliver treated, nonpotable reclaimed water to golf courses, cooling towers, car washes, and other commercial, industrial, and irrigation users. For example, the cities of Austin and El Paso operate large purple pipe systems to distribute reclaimed water to industrial, commercial, and irrigation users.
NorthgateCountry Club, Houston, TX In many places, reuse infrastructure has reached a saturation point. The large users (golf courses, other irrigation users, and cooling towers) already have been connected, and the cost of reaching additional users becomes too great to justify further purple pipe system expansion. This means that, although additional wastewater effluent is available, it’s being discharged (lost) because there isn’t sufficient demand for nonpotable water or it isn’t possible to implement more nonpotable reuse. This realization has let El Paso Water Utilities, for example, to move away from any further expansion of their
purple pipe system and develop a new direct potable reuse program instead. The Direct Potable Reuse Revolution For decades, large utilities in Arizona, California, Texas, Virginia, and elsewhere have practiced indirect potable reuse (IPR) in which reclaimed water is used to augment natural water bodies or groundwater serving as drinking water supplies. In addition, billions of gallons of treated effluent are discharged to water bodies by upstream communities and reused by downstream communities as a water supply source. With IPR limited to locations with access to a suitable natural water body, the industry is moving toward more direct reuse of reclaimed water for potable purposes. The WateReuse Research Foundation’s California DPR Initiative, sponsored by utilities and industry partners, has collected more than $6 million to support DPR research regarding public health goals, treatment technology, risk management, storage, water blending, monitoring, and public outreach. As a result of their own severe drought, many large California utilities are now considering DPR as their next significant water supply. Utilities that don’t already have active IPR projects are considering leapfrogging IPR in favor of DPR. The forefront of DPR implementation in the United States, however, is in Texas, where several projects are under way. The communities described in the case studies below are achieving DPR in different ways. By the end of the decade, many more cities and towns in Texas and beyond will likely realize water supply reliability improvements through DPR. CASE STUDIES: Direct Potable Reuse Supplements Dwindling Water Supplies Direct potable reuse (DPR) has been discussed for decades, but new water demands and technology advances are making it a reality. Here are a few examples of communities that have taken advantage of or will implement DPR as traditional water sources dry up. Big Spring. The city of Big Spring, Texas, and several surrounding communities serving nearly a half million people get their water from the Colorado Continued on page 30 29
Drought-Resistant Water Supplies
Wichita Falls. The city of Wichita Falls, Texas, is located in a corner of Texas that has yet to see recovery from ongoing drought. In response to its severe water shortage conditions, the city developed an emergency supply project that repurposes existing water treatment infrastructure to create a DPR system, which came online in July 2014. Treated wastewater effluent is sent via a temporary pipeline to the inlet of a former brackish surface water treatment plant, which treats the water via MF and RO. The water is then sent directly to an adjacent conventional surface water treatment plant where it’s mixed 50/50 with raw surface water, treated again, and then sent to the distribution system. El Paso. Located in one of the driest corners of the state, and subject to curtailment of surface water rights from the Rio Grande, the El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) has been at the forefront of alternative water supplies for many years. This includes the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant, which at 27.5 mgd is the largest inland desalination facility in the world, the Hueco Bolson Recharge Project, an IPR project in which reclaimed water from the Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant is introduced into a drinking water aquifer, and a large purple pipe program, amongst others. In further pursuit of drought-proof water supplies, El Paso has embarked on a DPR project that would take water from the Roberto Bustamante WWTP, apply advanced treatment to produce “purified water” and introduce this water into the finished water clearwell of the adjacent Jonathan Rogers WTP. Construction of this facility would make it the first project to bypass conventional water treatment and introduce advanced-treated “purified” water directly into the distribution system. Despite being only at the feasibility study stage, EPWU has undertaken a significant public education campaign in support of the project.
Continued from page 27 River Municipal Water District, which owns and operates three large reservoirs in West Texas. Because periodic droughts have reduced stored water volumes in area reservoirs to a minimum level, the district is actively developing additional water sources.
A microfiltration unit at the CRMWD Raw Water Production facility in Big Spring, Texas. Projects include a recently completed well field to supply water during droughts and the Raw Water Production Facility (RWPF) at Big Spring, which began operating in May 2013. RWPF treats filtered effluent from the city’s conventional wastewater treatment plant through microfiltration (MF), reverse osmosis (RO), and an advanced oxidation process (AOP) that results from the combined application of ultraviolet (UV) light and hydrogen peroxide. The finished water is delivered directly into the district’s raw-water pipeline system and sent to conventional water treatment plants for further treatment and subsequent delivery to customers’ homes. The district’s motto for this project is “100 percent reuse, 100 percent of the time.” The project was the first operating facility in which treated wastewater effluent isn’t discharged into a natural water body before being reused as a water supply source, making it the first operating DPR scheme in the western hemisphere. Extensive testing and analysis of the system, funded by the Texas Water Development Board, is ongoing.
* Updated based on an article (by Andrew Salveson, Eva SteinleDarling, and Guy Carpenter, Carollo) published in June 2014 Opflow Magazine. 30
Coyote Lake Ranch Case
Continued from page 7
City of Lubbock v. Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC, 440 S.W.3d 267, 269-270 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2014). 2 Plaintiff’s First Amended Original Petition and Application for Temporary Restraining Order, Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC v. City of Lubbock, Cause No. 9245, in the 287th District Court, Bailey County, Texas. In fact, the 1949 legislation creating what are today known as groundwater conservation districts was authored by Representative I. B. Holt of neighboring Lamb County. Green, D. (1973). Land of the Underground Rain: Irrigation on the Texas High Plains, 1910-1970. Austin, TX: Univ. of Texas Press. The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 was created soon thereafter in 1951. http://www.hpwd.org. 1 Humble Oil & Refining Co. v. Williams, 420 S.W.2d 133 (Tex. 1967). 2 Getty Oil Co. v. Jones, 470 S.W.2d 618 (Tex. 1971). 3 369 S.W.3d 814 (Tex. 2012). 4 City of Lubbock v. Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC, 440 S.W.3d 267 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2014, pet. filed). 1
groundwater is analogous to oil and gas, it must also apply the oil and gas law “accommodation doctrine” to groundwater as well. The Supreme Court’s jurisdiction is the first item it must resolve. The Supreme Court usually lacks jurisdiction to hear appeals of temporary injunctions. However, CLR has argued that the Amarillo Court’s refusal to apply the accommodation doctrine in this case conflicts with the Supreme Court’s decision in Day analogizing oil and gas ownership-in-place to groundwater ownership in place, and because of this conflict, the Supreme Court does have jurisdiction to hear its appeal. All briefing in Coyote Lake Ranch, LLC v. City of Lubbock was completed on December 19, 2014. As of the time of the publication of this article, the Supreme Court had yet to decide whether to take up the case. By taking the Coyote Lake Ranch appeal, though, the Supreme Court may be signaling that more changes are on their way with respect to groundwater ownership in Texas.
Jason Hill is a litigation and water rights attorney at Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P.C. He can be contacted at (512) 322-5855 or email@example.com.
James Aldredge is a litigation and environmental attorney at Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P.C. He can be contacted at (512) 322-5859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TWCA OCTOBER 2014 CONFERENCE, SAN ANTONIO
TWCA General Manager Leroy Goodson visited with the NO WIPES IN THE PIPES spokesperson, Patty Potty (San Jacinto River Authorityâ€™s Michelle Simpson).
Left to right: Alan Plummer, Carlos Rubinstein, Chairman TWDB, and Dean Robbins.
Left to right: Yvonne Forrest, City of Houston; State Representative Lyle Larson; Kathy Turner Jones, Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, Carole Baker, and Dean Robbins, TWCA.
Left to right: Alia Vinson, Allen Boone Humphries Robinson, Amy Beussink. Chief, Gulf Coast Program USGS Texas Water Science Center, and TWCA GM Leroy Goodson.
LEFT: Stephanie Bergeron Perdue, TCEQ and Dean Robbins, Assistant General Manger, TWCA. RIGHT: Texas Water Foundation Executive Director, Carole Baker with Dominique Gomez, Water Smart Software.
TWCA RISK MANAGEMENT FUND SAFETY AWARDS
Left to right: Sonny Hinojosa, Hidalgo County Irrigation District #2; Kathy Berrek, Tarrant Regional Water District; Ricky Clifton, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority; John Grant, Colorado River Municipal Utility District; Kyle Miller, Wichita County Irrigation District; and Sonia Lambert, Cameron County Ittigation District #2. On July 1, 2014, the TWCA Risk Management Fund began its 27th year of operations. The Fund’s founding in the mid-1980’s put TWCA members in control of their insurance and risk management destiny; members are no longer at the mercy of the commercial insurance market. Over the years, the Fund has not only provided stability in coverage and rates, but has worked with member districts to develop quality loss prevention programs that help members control risks as well as support district missions. Safety and loss prevention are very important to the Fund. At the October Conference, several Fund members were recognized for their effective safety and loss control programs, and for providing safe work environments for their most valuable resources, their employees. Two of the awards also recognize districts’ attention to liability issues that affect the public. Each of these members is to be commended for their accomplishments, especially since the performance standards to win the awards are now considerably higher. Most Improved Safety Record in Workers’ Compensation: This recognition is awarded to those members that have improved by greater than 10 percent from their 2013-14 experience modifier with a resulting modifier less than 1.00. There are four winners in this category: Brown County Water Improvement District #1; Colorado River Municipal Water District; Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority; and Wichita County Water Improvement District #2. Outstanding Safety Record in Workers’ Compensation: This recognition is awarded to those members that had superior experience in workers’ compensation claims as reflected by their workers’ compensation experience modifier of less than 80 percent. The experience modifier reflects how well a district or authority has controlled its losses over the past four years. The three winners are: Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District; Galveston County Consolidated Drainage District; and Tarrant Regional Water District. Outstanding Safety Record in Liability: This recognition is awarded to those district and authorities with the best liability loss history in General Liability, Automobile Liability and Errors and Omission with a combined underwriting factor of less than .75. The two winners are: Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority; and Tarrant Regional Water District.
TWCA Gratefully Acknowledges The 2015 CONFLUENCE Sponsors Who Make This Communication Among Members Possible PLATINUM Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP Halff Associates, Inc. Carollo Engineers, Inc. HDR Engineering, Inc. Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P. C McCall, Parkhurst & Horton L.L.P. Sabine River Authority of Texas TWCA Risk Management Fund Trinity River Authority of Texas
GOLD Brazoria Drainage District #4 Brown & Gay Engineers, Inc. Colorado River Municipal Water District Jefferson County Drainage District #6 Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. North Harris County Regional Water Authority Northeast Texas Municipal Water District Nueces River Authority San Jacinto River Authority Upper Neches River Municipal Water Authority
SILVER Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District Canadian River Municipal Water Authority Franklin County Water District
BRONZE Photo by Alex Roszko - www.roszkophoto.com
Blanton & Associates, Inc. Klotz Associates, Inc. The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency 34