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BCRAGD board hears report on proposed public water supply well

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District (BCRAGD) board of directors accepted a report from staffer Sarah Schlessinger on progress on a proposed public water supply well in the Lakehills area. Schlessinger presented the report at the board's regular quarterly meeting held Thursday, July 10.
Schlessinger, the district's intergovernmental/community relations coordinator, has been tasked with the job of developing the project and looking for funding.
The well, which would provide water to the public in emergency situations would be located in the Medina Lake area. According to a grant application prepared for presentation to the Texas Infrastructure Coordinating Committee Finance Committee, the project would serve three purposes.
First, it would provide a source of emergency water and storage for use by volunteer fire departments to fight structure and brush fires.
Second, it would provide drought relief for county residents whose wells have run dry with emergency potable water delivery.
And third, it would expand BCRAGD's well monitoring program to improve drought management by tapping into the Lower Trinity aquifer.
"We're currently preparing and submitting plans to TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) for review," Schlessinger told the board. "We're trying to find solutions to emergency drought [conditions]."
BCRAGD's General Manager Dave Mauk gave kudos to Schlessinger for the work she has already done. "Sarah's done a good job in getting some doors open [at the state level]. We have the state's ear." Mauk said the district's proposal to have potable water available to residents in need at the well head is meeting with opposition. "The state expects potable water to be delivered via water lines, so our project is forcing them to think outside the box."
Schlessinger said part of the challenge is the very different state regulations for potable versus non-potable water.
"Meanwhile, we have people with no water," said Mauk.
Board member Gene Wehmeyer raised the question of how the district would provide the water to customers. "Would it be sold or given away?"
Mauk replied that should funding be found and the project given the go-ahead, "[the district] would have to develop guidelines such as fees, how much a customer could have and how often."
According to Schlessinger's grant application, the project could cost as much as $300,000. In addition to the Medina Lake site, similar wells with emergency storage capacity could be drilled eventually in western Bandera County and in the Medina community area.