A number of topics were addressed at the meeting, generally centered around water but each with a different focus.
Jim Lattimore, PKLA president, said there are two issues the organization is addressing — the Brazos River Authority’s request to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for additional water and Lake Granbury’s residents request for additional water for that lake.
“Three weeks ago now, they (BRA) did resubmit the application,” Lattimore began.
He added that the administrative hearings would likely be held in August.
“We’ll be in hearings at the Sate Administrative Office, it should wrap up by the end of the year,” he said, adding that it could be on the TCEQ commissioner’s agenda in the first quarter of next year.
“We want your state representatives and senators to be aware of the whole process,” Lattimore continued.
PKLA had cards preprinted for members to sign and send to their respective elected state officials.
“It is critically important you use these cards.”
The other issue is the request from Lake Granbury residents for higher lake levels.
“This is a brush fire that cropped up,” he said. “The people in Granbury have created a storm.
They believe their lake is supposed to be constant level.”
In its own white paper, the PKLA board suggested the Halff study, which offered an equitable way to balance lake levels between PK and Granbury, should not be considered at all.
“The white paper says BRA needs to go to the original charge of the original legislation,” Lattimore said, explaining that the original concept was taking measures for the conservation of water for the people of Texas.
“Balancing lake levels does not provide a benefit for the people of Texas.”
Leigh Ing, formerly with TCEQ, now a consultant, has been retained by PKLA to assist in the hearings regarding the Brazos River Authority’s request for additional water.
“There’s a lot of very important issues that surround a hearing that affects the outcome,” she said.
The administrative hearing assures the technical aspects are met and legal before being referred to TCEQ. She explained that even though the administrative hearing can recommend approval, it does not mean all factors are considered.
“Those three (TCEQ) commissioners, they can consider things beyond technical and legal,” Ing continued.
Among the items those commissioners can consider are the economic impact, drought impact, precedent set elsewhere and incorporating policy concerns of the public.
“All these river authorities are a little bit different,” she said.
One that is similar to BRA is the Lower Colorado River Authority.
“TCEQ came out hard and heavy against the LCRA for mismanaging the drought,” Ing continued.
She explained that BRA is a water retailer with little public participation, thus opening the door for an argument against the permit.
She also explained that a water master for the lower Brazos River basin had been approved. That position would be over the river from, and including, PK Lake, to the Gulf.
“The goal of a water master is to protect senior water rights holders,” she said.
The water master would collect usage data as well as look for those using water illegally.