Water Committee Report April 2023

We have received approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the Jacob and Martin Engineering’s design of our Smith Well improvements. Next step will be to put together bid packages and invite contractors to bid on the work.  We discussed this project yesterday in the workshop and our thinking is we will consider breaking the project into smaller pieces and invite local contractors to bid on parts they are capable of delivering on. Jerry Schaffer and I will sit down and take a look at the project and do some cost analysis and come back to the board with a recommendation.

Last week, Arrowhead Drilling and Well Services put a new pump and casing in the Cabin Well. We can now do the 36-hour pump test, as required by TCEQ, to determine the flow rate of the well. Following that will be water quality testing.  With this information we will seek approval from TCEQ to put this well into service as a potable source for our facility.

Bringing this online and with an adequate flow rate, we will reduce or eliminate our connection deficit that has us operating under an exception from TCEQ.

Now that we have moved past spring break, we will begin the line looping of our water lines as required by TCEQ. This is their suggested fix to water pressure issues in our water lines.

Our non-potable well is struggling to keep up with ever increasing demand put upon it from property owners. The question before us, as a board, is how do we determine the available supply, how do we provide this service in an equitable manner, and how do we communicate changes in supply to property owners in a timely manner so they can make other arrangements for water if necessary.

Currently we have no good idea of our available supply, how much water we are selling, or how many people are using the service.  We have, this month, installed a meter on the well which wil give us an accurate number on how much water we are pumping. Currently the forms we use to record sales are not being filled out properly. Property owners are not filling out all the fields and if filled in they are often illegible. We also have no way to accurately meter the amount of water purchased at the pump and must rely on property owners to accurately take the right amount.  We are looking for an affordable metering system we can install to deliver an accurate amount of water.

We have to set realistic limits to how much water we can provide on a monhtly basis and the amount allowed per account. These limits will be adjusted as we monitor the health of the well, record accurate sales amounts and determine the ever-changing demand. We strive to provide water in an equitable manner and we need the help to property owners to do this.

Those property owners who buy water will have new forms that will require their account number, rather than tract number, and a field for an email contact so we can build a database which we can use to alert them to changes in supply and delivery. Those who wish to have water hauled for them will have a new form they must come into the office and fill out which designates an individual as their hauler, the quantity, and the frequency.  We will have to insist that property owners who purchase water fill out the forms accurately and in a legible manner.  We realize change can be difficult and ask for understanding while we transition to this new system. We remind property owners that these policies are being put in place by the board of directors and the office staff is only doing what we ask and if you have issues with these changes, please reach out to the ranch manager or board president.

Protecting our common resources and communicating to property owners is paramount. We need to put an emergency management plan in place that clearly defines stages and triggers for changes in our monthly supply.

We need the help of the Communication Committe to provide a place on the POATRI website that can be accessed by property owners and can be updated quickly to provide accurate and up to date info on our water supply.

It cannot go without saying, that without water this community will wither and die. We have since our inception been able to provide water for our facility and for our community. We need to understand that now we have a finite supply and an ever-increasing demand on that supply. We need to, as individuals, accept responsibility for our water usage and take measures to reduce our dependency on our common wells if we are to survive.

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