Water planning underway in Nacogdoches

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Triple digit temperatures return to East Texas this weekend. It's days like this we can better appreciate the drenching rains of this spring and early summer.

It's also when regional water planning groups want to make sure people don't forget about the importance of water conservation. Fulfilling the water demands of East Texas doesn't just happen. It takes years of planning and millions of dollars.

The East Texas Regional Water Planning Group, one of seventeen groups across the state, is now going after some of that state funding. This week applications were submitted in behalf of Nacogdoches.

"These plans are developed on a five year cycle. We're in the first year of the next five year cycle," explained Lann Bookout, project manager for the Texas Water Development Board.

Dedicated volunteers of elected officials and property owners make water a priority. Others don't.

"How quickly we forget about the drought," sighed Kelly Holcomb, chairman of the East Texas Regional Planning Group. "yes, we've been fortunate. We've, from my estimates, we made up from the lack of rainfall that we did not receive in 2011 and that's good, but I think it gives us a false sense of security for the future."

So Texans must be warned. Take for instance all the creeks and rivers that flow through many east Texas properties. Landowners are allowed to use that water except when the state puts a stop to it. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reports the persistent drought in most of Texas could lead to curtailing water rights.

"It's a serious matter for all of us to be concerned about," warned Holcomb.

Many cities are now drilling and paying for expensive water wells. There's recent proof surface water dries up. The same is happening to groundwater.

"Too many people don't participate in water planning," said Holcomb. "It has to be high on everyone's priority list. If the drought of 2011 didn't sow us anything at all, it showed us that we are even more subjective to drought conditions and those other economic issues associated with water supply. You must get involved. You must get involved."

The East Texas Regional Water Planning Group meets again august 29 in Nacogdoches. After hearing from regional groups, the Texas Water Development Board will submit a state water plan for legislative consideration.

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