Residents voiced concerns about regional water development


April 28, 2010 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated April 28, 2010 at 11:29 p.m.

EDNA - The Regional Water Planning Group P was emotional for residents as many voiced concerns about the potential for a second water reservoir to be built by damming the Lavaca River.

It was standing room only as Jason Afinowicz, a consultant for the Texas Water Development Board, opened the meeting explaining the significance of the regional planning process and the unique position of the Lavaca Planning Group P.

"Lavaca region has always had a focus on inter-regional coordination because it's a major water provider to other regions and there's also the potential for an additional supply in the future," he said.

The region includes parts of Jackson, Lavaca and Wharton counties.

Consistency with the state water plan is required for entities to obtain funding for infrastructure and obtain a water right permit from the Texas Water Development Board.

Region P has a demand of about 200 million gallons of water per day primarily for irrigation and livestock usage, Afinowicz said, but the current water plan has a focus of inter-regional planning.

The presentation illustrated plans for a Garwood pipeline to pump water through the Lavaca Region to Corpus Christi and a Lavaca-Navidad River Authority pipeline to Formosa Plastics from a water development project that could include the Stage II dam.

"You hold in your hands the ability to let the Lavaca river basin live. You have been given a sacred trust," said Mary Prihoda, who lives near the river bottom. "Once the chainsaws and the bulldozers come, as we've seen, we'll never have a chance to get it back"

Others voiced similar concerns.

"We've been completely overlooked," said Dr. Mac Lee, who owns land near the river and opposes the dam. "Jackson County has completely been overlooked."

Lee believes developing a second reservoir used to sell water to entities outside the county would not benefit the local community.

The regional plans will continue to receive public input until June 30.

A final plan will be submitted Sept. 1 and will be used in the creation of 2012 state water plans.



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