Water District Talks Over, First Step Taken

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

WARD COUNTY - After months of public meetings and grassroots petitioning, Ward, Winkler and Crane counties met last Thursday in Monahans, taking the first step to forming a groundwater conservation district.

At least 50 signatures have been collected in a petition.

Now a Monahans attorney has joined the cause to help take that petition to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to create the water district.

"You have to be aware of how much you have and where it's going because if you're not aware of it well then it can disappear like that," Monahans attorney, Alan Nicholas, said.

Water district talks started when the Colorado River Municipal Water District started constructing a new pipeline to their well site in Ward County last year, set to be used as an emergency supply if their lakes run dry.

It could pump 45 million gallons of water a day out of the Pecos Valley Aquifer and Ward County citizens spearheading the district like Sandra Morgan want a say in the taking of that water.

"In my discussions with the experts on the aquifer, you can reach a certain damage to the aquifer, which they're looking at it's going to take place, it will take a hundred years for this aquifer to recover from the damage we're looking at being done to it and that's scary," Morgan said.

A few more steps have to happen before the filing can take place.

"Part of this process is to confirm that every one of these petitioners is a landowner in the counties that they say they're in," Nicholas said. "We need to have some of kind of informal election to determine a temporary board."

That's a board of at least seven people to oversee the creation of the water district.

Morgan said people have already stepped forward. They just need to be selected.

Attorney Nicholas said the petition is near 90% complete.

Morgan says she's happy with the progress.

"We don't want to stop anyone from getting water but we do know the volume of water that CRMWD is looking at and anybody that believes that's not going to destroy this aquifer, they need to have psychological help," Morgan said.