Regional water planning group focuses on preparing for future needs of East Texans

Regional water planning group focuses on preparing for future needs of East Texans
Updated: Feb. 19, 2020 at 2:54 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The future was the focus for members of the Region I Water Planning Group meeting in Nacogdoches.

The group met Wednesday to adopt the Initially Prepared Plan (IPP) or draft plan required every five years by the Texas Water Development Board. The plan provides pages and pages of water-planning information for each of the 20 counties, stretching from the Golden Triangle of Beaumont to Tyler.

The region has ample water.

“We got plenty. We got plenty,” assured board chair, Kelley Holcomb.

Even so, smart water development requires the best data, says planning group member Dr. Matthew McBroom.

“We have better data. No doubt about it,” said McBroom. "We’ve been able to get better estimates of our actual demands for how much our cities are using.”

The largest cities of Beaumont, Tyler, Lufkin, and Nacogdoches must monitor usage closely due to manufacturing and population growth. Smaller cities and towns experience primarily distribution and quality issues.

Despite the hundreds of pages of data, the Water Development Board doesn’t require extensive analysis of quality, according to Region I chair, Kelley Holcomb.

"It's not taking into consideration at a level that you would think that it would be or should be. Personally, I think there is a growing trend groundwater becoming less potable than it used to be, you know, a half a century ago," said Holcomb.

Fortunately, surface water provides three-fourths of the water supply for Region I. The data can lead to water systems and grants to better address the needs.

"While overall the region has an adequate supply of water there are local areas that may need additional supply development for the future and so that's the value of this process,” explained McBroom. “They get to come to the table and bring their needs."

The 2021 water report requires deep research into drought, including contingency plans. Water conservation is also analyzed, no matter how abundant the water supply.

A public hearing on the water plan is scheduled for May 14 at 5:30 at the Nacogdoches Recreation Center.


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