The Gonzales Economic Development Corporation Board (GEDC) met for its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, Sept. 25.
The GEDC board invited a special guest to make public comments before the start of the actual meeting: Berry Miller, director for District 4 of the Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District.
Miller’s district covers the eastern part of Gonzales County and the southwestern part of Caldwell County.
Miller gave a lecture of the geography and geology of the Texas Gulf Coast to the board.
“I know that the city of Gonzales faces challenges with water. I know what those challenges are. You have a run of the river permit. And that run of the river permit says if the river isn’t running, you aren’t getting any water coming out of it,” Miller said.
Miller recommended to the GEDC board to drill another water well, he said.
“Gonzales is blessed with acreage and avenues that go out five leads in either direction. And you're lucky. North Avenue goes out over a zone of fairly good water — not the best but fairly good,” Miller said.
“A little bit of geology, underneath our feet, is a spine of rock called the San Marcos Arch, that spine of rock at some point in time squished up a little bit and this underneath our feet is the thinnest spot in the Carrizo sand in all of Texas,” Miller added.
According to Miller, a water supply was drilled eight miles east of Gonzales near the Saturn Community and he added the Carrizo Sand is 2,000 feet there.
“There's more sand in western Gonzales County that's 800 feet thick. When you get the thicker sand you get better water because it doesn't sit and absorb minerals for so long,” Miller said.
Miller added it’s 109 degree water coming from the ground, but it’s wonderful water.
Miller recommends the city go up North Avenue and find a site, and he added it’ll require some work to identify the “quality of water and the volume”.
“It would represent a resource to the city that would be just wonderful. It would, it could be developed to equal the Hinten Well east of town out here. And therefore you know, you'd have a dual source of water,” Miller said.
One of the big concerns Miller mentioned to the board is the potential of pharmaceuticals in the water supply and he added that it’ll be the next big thing to take out.
“it's doable, but it's very expensive. And I don't know who's going to pay for it. Because I'll be quite frank, I don't think the city can pay to put in a reverse osmosis plant of the size of scale that would require to treat that river water down there,” Miller said.
Board President Ken Morrow asked Miller if there’s a problem with pharmaceuticals in the Carrizo water well.
Miller responded that the water well he drinks from is 50,000 years old under his house and that there was “no Xanax.”
“That water has been sitting in the aquifer for that long as you go further down, it's been sitting in there years longer, so it is abundant. It's plentiful. And I was asked to speak to the current pumpage In Gonzales County,” Miller said.
Morrow said the EDC had a pressure plane survey performed of the water serving Gonzales.
“That pressure plane survey yielded the result that our industrial park has a lack of capacity to provide water to the businesses at the flow rate that is needed to do sprinklers for any basically business going into industrial park,” Morrow said.
Morrow added HEB and Walmart have to put in their own water storage for fire suppression.
“Our survey basically said that we should take industrial park, HEB, Walmart and the high school and put them on their own plane with a new water tower,” Morrow said.
Miller recommends the city to look for water by drilling.
“The long range plan for this city, in my opinion, should be that they pursue additional groundwater resources for the city of Gonzales. It's drought proof. There's no drought that's going to affect the Carrizo Aquifer,” Miller said.