GCUWCD hears legal updates from counsel at meeting


At the regular meeting of the Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District on Tuesday, Oct. 13, approvals were made for well digging permits and legal updates which may affect water districts in the state were discussed with legal counsel.

Well permits for county residents were approved at the top of the meeting, with one being an industrial well feeding from the Yegua-Jackson Aquifer and the other an irrigation well from the Carrizo Aquifer.

Legal updates discussed by the board and its counsel Greg Ellis of GM Ellis Law Firm PC included possible updates to liability and statute of limitations for permits.

This update from Ellis included his observations and opinion of current legal happenings involving water districts, such as a case involving the Neches and Trinity Valleys Underground Water Conservation District. Ellis said the primary interest of this case to other water conservation districts is whether an improved spring is a well that requires a permit, as well as whether a conservation district can be held liable for a takings claim as the result of enforcement action. The precedent for this matter, which Ellis said is six years old, is that an enforcement action cannot be the basis of a takings claim.

Reports and expenses from the General Manager, Well Mitigation Manager and Field Technician were approved, as well as office expenses. A report of the district’s financials was also received and approved.

The General Manager’s report indicated that the portion of Texas in which Gonzales resides is not currently experiencing drought conditions. The report also included production rates for several water companies, and its proportion of the allowable monthly production, or the amount of water in acre-feet which a water utility company may pump from an aquifer. Water companies in the area ranged from 10% to 109% of allowed production for September.

The Mitigation Fund Manager’s report documented several well pluggings and discussions of plugging wells within the county.

The Field Technician’s report documented the checking of water levels at several wells within the county.

In other business:

  • An agenda item regarding communication strategies to increase awareness of the district’s functions and groundwater resources, in the form of promotional items such as cups, water bottles and bags as well as radio announcements, was tabled for the next meeting.