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BCRAGD to drill well to assist in fire protection, more

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

During their regular quarterly meeting held Thursday, April 11, the board of the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District voted unanimously to drill a public water supply well in Lakehills. The well will serve a three-fold purpose of serving as a monitor well to keep tabs on the aquifer it taps into, providing emergency drought relief, and assisting with fire protection in the Medina Lake area.

BCRAGD's General Manager David Mauk explained, "One of the most at-risk areas [for fire danger] in the county is Lakehills. The fire departments can't pump from the lake." Due to continued drought conditions, Medina Lake is currently at less than 6 percent of capacity.

Water from the proposed well would be stored for the volunteer fire department's use. It would also provide a source of emergency water for people whose wells have gone dry. The board proposes a 10,000 gallon storage tank for the well.

The project has been researched and developed by board members Karen Ripley, Neil Boultinghouse and Don Kruckemeyer, who have been working with the VFDs to look for grants to supply additional funding. "We're also looking into water catchment," said Ripley.

Board member Sid Gibson asked if there would be a problem with people taking advantage of the emergency water supply. Both Medina Lake and Pipe Creek VFDs currently provide emergency water to residents. Board President Don Sloan explained, "The Medina Lake VFD cuts them off after awhile. We don't provide the water routinely."

The BCRAGD has drilled 38 monitor wells in locations throughout the county. "These wells give us the tools to make informed decisions about how to manage our water resources," said Kruckemeyer in a statement released last week.

"We [Ripley, Boultinghouse, and Kruckemeyer] have been tasked by the board with developing a model for this important concept," said Kruckemeyer. "We envision once we establish how to implement this plan, we can use it as a model of establishing other wells throughout our county and possibly try to receive a state or federal grant. We believe this concept can also be an inspiration for the rest of the state."

Other business

In other business, the BCRAGD board adopted a mission statement that affirmed the district's commitment to protect the natural resources in the county while safeguarding the property rights of the residents; and adopted the amended district management plan. That plan will be submitted to a state agency for approval or further amendment.

The board also voted to drill a dual completion monitor well into the Middle Trinity Aquifer at the district's headquarters. The well will tap into two levels of the Middle Trinity, the Lower Glen Rose and Cow Creek. "We will be able to see if there is any communication between the two aquifers," said Mauk. "Eventually, we will want to put the data we're getting on our website for real time information."

In a matter related to keeping a better eye on the giant cone of depression that forms around the city of Bandera, the board voted to hire the LBG Guyton firm to conduct a water availability study for the area around the city.

"It's imperative to get an understanding of how the aquifer is reacting to pumping and drought," said Mauk.

Boardman Jerry Sides added, "Models haven't been drawn [to include the effect of all the cones of depression pumping at once. Normally I'm not in favor of spending money on studies, but I agree with this one."

Board member Ernie DeWinne asked the board to consider adding to the district's management plan a requirement to give people information about rainwater harvesting when they apply for a well permit. He also urged the board to begin identifying sites in the county where aquifers are being recharged for possible future use in aquifer enhancement programs. While the board generally agreed with DeWinne's ideas, Mauk advised not putting them in the management plan, which is audited by the state. "We can put [them] on the agenda for more discussion," said Mauk.