Groundwater Summit planned for Aug. 16

The 2017 Milam and Burleson Counties Groundwater Summit will focus on groundwater availability models and desired future conditions.

The summit will be held Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public with lunch provided. It will be held at the Caldwell Civic Center at 103 TX-21 in Caldwell.

Speakers from the Texas Water Development Board are set to give presentations over groundwater availability models and desired future conditions. 

Robert Mace, Deputy Executive Administrator of Texas Water Development Board, is scheduled to discuss groundwater availability models. Mace leads the agency’s Water Science & Conservation office, a department of 70 scientists, engineers and specialists dedicated to better understanding groundwater and surface water resources.

In his presentation, Mace will focus on providing a basic understanding of how these models work, why they are helpful and what their limitations are.

“Just as your nightly weather expert uses models to predict the weather for Saturday, hydrogeologists use models to predict the effects of pumping on aquifers at some point in the future,” Mace said. “By definition, models are not perfect, but they are often our best tools for understanding what the future may hold for our aquifers.”

Mace said that people will benefit from this presentation by gaining a better understanding of how models help in determining Desired Future Conditions and impacts of pumping projects.

Larry French, Director of the Groundwater Division of the Texas Water Development Board, will discuss desired future conditions, which are quantifiable conditions of an aquifer at a specified future time. Along with the Groundwater Division staff, French conducts basic research and monitoring of the characteristics and conditions of Texas’ aquifers.  

French said he will talk about what DFCs are, how they are developed, who develops them and how they feed into decisions about groundwater availability. He will focus on DFCs that have been adopted by districts in Groundwater Management Area 12.

“The process to adopt DFCs is a public process and there is plenty of opportunity for citizen involvement,” French said. “DFCs undergo regular review and can change as our understanding of groundwater conditions improves and we see how the aquifer responds to pumping and recharge.”

The Master of Ceremonies, Sarah Rountree Schlessinger, is the Executive Director of Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts. Schlessinger also serves as an appointed member of the Water Conservation Advisory Council and an alternate member for the Texas Groundwater Protection Committee. 

 “Sarah is certainly no stranger to our citizens, having served as MC of this event the past two years,” Gary Westbrook, General Manager of Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District, said. “She also is steeped in understanding groundwater issues in this state, as she does an excellent job of leading TAGD through this period of evolving groundwater legislation.”

Citizens of Milam and Burleson Counties, as well as surrounding areas, can benefit from attending the Groundwater Summit. Post Oak Savannah GCD organizes the event and invites groundwater experts from across Texas to come speak at the local level. It is a great opportunity for people to come and learn about the state’s requirements on local groundwater management and stay up-to-date on current groundwater issues.

Topics for this year’s Summit cover a variety of issues. Panels will discuss the impacts of production in the Carrizo-Wilcox, how Groundwater Conservation Districts collaborate within Groundwater Management Area 12, and an overview of the Post Oak Savannah GCD Groundwater Well Assistance Program (GWAP). 

For any questions, please contact the POSGCD office at (512) 455-9900, or email at Please RSVP to your County Extension office by Aug. 8. You can contact Burleson County at (979) 567-2308 or Milam County at (254) 697-7045. For a detailed agenda of the Summit, please visit