Final Day of Testimony in Fort Stockton Water Permit Hearing

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON - It looks like the fight over water in Pecos County isn't over yet.

Oilman Clayton Williams' plan to pump water off his land and into Midland will have to hold off a little longer.

Thursday wrapped up the fifth and final day of testimony in the water permit hearings.

After early mornings and late nights in the Fort Stockton courtroom, attorneys on both sides of the water fight are feeling confident.

Thursday marked the fifth day in the permit hearing process. It was yet another day full of testimony, and Fort Stockton Holdings had an unlikely supporter.

"I don't believe that Fort Stockton Holdings application to transport water will have any impact upon my water or my property whatsoever," Brad Davis said.

Davis owns land in Pecos and Brewster counties. Those counties are opposing the company's request to pump water off owner Clayton Williams' land.

Davis feels there's a bigger issue at stake.

"If Fort Stockton Holdings property rights are violated then my property rights will be violated," he said. "I think this is something every property owner in Pecos County should be mindful of and concerned about."

Testimony wrapped up shortly after Davis left the stand.

"It has been a long process," Mike Thornhill said. His firm, the Thornhill Group, was hired by Fort Stockton Holdings to conduct studies on the aquifer.

"I'm really gratified that we were finally able to present the science," Thornhill said.

"I think the city of Fort Stockton made the points we wanted to make, raised the arguments that we wanted to raise, and raised the concerns," attorney for the city, Carl Galant, said. "I think the citizens of Fort Stockton should be very happy."

In a surprise move, Fort Stockton Holdings requested closing arguments to be made in writing.

They'll submit those arguments to the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District board on May 20th and opposing parties will make a response to the board by the 24th.

"I don't think it's an advantage or disadvantage for anybody," Galant said. "I think it was a little bit of a surprise but once all the attorneys put their heads together I think they realized this was a good choice to make."

The next choice is up to the board and they'll have 60 days to decide the future of water in West Texas.