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2013-06-27

BCRAGD responds to Berger

By Dave Mauk General Manager, BCRAGD

Recently, Ed Berger, the General Manager of Bexar Medina Atascosa WCID # 1 (BMA), made some public comments outlining BMA initiatives that may have a direct impact on the citizens and businesses in Bandera County. As the General Manager, Mr. Berger speaks for BMA. Normally, I would not comment on editorials or interviews published in the newspapers. However, I have received numerous calls from citizens in Bandera County voicing their concerns about Mr. Berger's comments so I feel compelled to respond.

BMA alleges that "illegal" water wells in Bandera County are drawing water from Medina Lake. Texas law provides that water from a well is presumed to be percolating groundwater and the property of the well owner 1. BMA, which is not a groundwater conservation district, has no authority over water wells in Bandera County.

BMA alleges that illegal dams in Bandera County are restricting water from flowing to Medina Lake. Dams in Bandera County are regulated by TCEQ, not BMA. The Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District does not have any knowledge of any illegal dams on the Medina River. If our District found evidence of an illegal dam we would immediately notify the TCEQ South Texas Water Master, as we have done this in the past.

BMA states that water wells drilled around Medina Lake are required to be drilled to the Lower Trinity Aquifer. This statement is not true and has no basis in fact. There are absolutely no rules or laws requiring that the wells must be drilled into that particular aquifer. BMA does not have regulatory authority over private, exempt water wells, or permitted water wells, in Bandera County.

BMA stands for Bexar, Medina, and Atascosa. The Texas Court of Civil Appeals ruled in the case of Bexar Medina Atascosa Water Improvement District No. 1(BMA) vs. George and Joan Wallace No 16520 that "BMA had no extra territory jurisdiction in Bandera County 2." Bandera County is not within BMA's jurisdiction; their jurisdiction is in Bexar, Medina, and Atascosa counties.

The Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District was originally formed by the State Legislature in 1971 as a River Authority and a Water Control and Improvement District 3. Berger recently stated that we are trying to become a water control and improvement district. However, the District has been a water control and improvement district (WCID) since our creation in 1971.The legislature [at that time] set out our boundaries as the County of Bandera.

The Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District's Board of Directors has adopted the following mission statement: "The principal mission of the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District is to protect and preserve the County's water and natural resources for the citizens of Bandera County. The District is also tasked with maintaining local control of the County's water resources to help safeguard the property rights of the citizens of Bandera County."

I can guarantee that the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District intends to aggressively implement that mission statement.