East Texas water planning group focus on preparing for future needs of region

East Texas water planning group focus on preparing for future needs of region

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE/KLTV) - The future was the focus for members of the Region I Water Planning Group meeting in Nacogdoches on Tuesday.

There are regions throughout the state of Texas, but Region I covers 20 counties in East Texas, including Angelina, Cherokee, Hardin, Henderson, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Trinity, and Tyler counties.

The region is blessed with water availability, but it doesn’t mean shortages can’t happen 50 years down the road.

“We’re reviewing chapters, individual chapters, in the plan; some of the heavy lifting we’ll do today is on the water supply and the water demand, which lends itself to the need,” said Kelley Holcomb, director of the East Texas Regional Water Planning Group. “Who needs the water, who’s got it, who’s using it, who doesn’t have enough.”

Although the group meets periodically, Holcomb said it doesn’t take away from the importance of the work the group does to ensure the region doesn’t run into a water shortage, especially should it experience drought during particularly brutal summers.

“These [meetings] are very important. Water planning in the last 10 years -- since 2011, the drought of 2011-2012 -- have become a focus of water planners: who’s got it, where is it needed, and how are we going to get more of it.

“Fortunately we sit in Region I, in an area of the state that gets a lot of rainfall, sometimes too much. So, we don’t have the issues the rest of the state has with regard to not having enough water. Those days could potentially happen.”

Any plan constructed during the meeting would need to be adopted and approved by Oct. 2020.

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