Groundwater district OKs funding for 3D model of Trinity Aquifer

Ryan Rowney, Paul King, Ricky Bindseil

Newly sworn-in Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District directors pose for a photo during the board’s regular meeting Nov. 18. Board President Ryan Rowney (left) stands beside Director At Large Paul King and Vice President Ricky Bindseil. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors approved $15,000 to help fund the development of a digital three-dimensional model of the Trinity Aquifer during its regular meeting Nov. 18. The aquifer provides groundwater to much of eastern Burnet County. 

Also during the meeting in Burnet, three directors were sworn in to their previously held positions after running unopposed in the recent election.

LRE Water Consultation Services will create the interactive model, which should help the district better manage groundwater pulled from the aquifer.

“We think this is not only beneficial to the districts involved, it’s beneficial to the whole region,” said Vince Clause, LRE water project manager, during a presentation to the board. “We all know that this is a resource that we have to manage, and we think this (model) is providing the region with a tool to do that.”

Other regional entities are contributing to the model’s funding and development. Travis County is allocating $75,000; Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District, $20,000; and the Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District and Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer Conservation District will each contribute staff hours.

“I think, for us, there is value in sharing our data that we are collecting and getting to join the other counties that are adjacent to us in getting a visualization tool that I think will greatly help, not only on the district level but on the GMA 8 level,” said Mitchell Sodek, general manager of the Central Texas district.

The data to which Sodek referred is from an in-depth groundwater study being conducted on behalf of Burnet County by Intera, a geological engineering firm. It was approved in May.

The Central Texas district, which manages Burnet County groundwater, lies within Groundwater Management Area 8 alongside Bell and Williamson counties and northern Travis County. These respective areas pull water from the Trinity Aquifer. Bell County groundwater is managed by the Clearwater district and Travis County by the Southwestern Travis County district. Williamson County currently has no groundwater management. 

The Central Texas district hopes the 3D model will help it manage groundwater in Burnet County, which is facing historically unprecedented low levels in recent years

SWEARING-IN

Board President Ryan Rowney, Vice President Ricky Bindseil, and Director At Large Paul King were incumbents to their respective positions on the Central Texas district board and reassumed those roles during the Nov. 18 meeting. King was appointed to his position in 2021 and, having won his election, will serve out the remaining two years of the current four-year term. Rowney and Bindseil will serve four-year terms.

Terms of the five-member board are staggered by two years, and elections are held in November. Directors also may serve consecutive terms.

dakota@thepicayune.com

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