KILLEEN — The 18th Annual Bell County Water Symposium was held Thursday at Texas A&M University-Central Texas. The all-day event featured 13 speeches scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A bulk of the discussion involved the management of groundwater — water found underground — in southwestern Bell County, and moreover, districts across the state. More than 200 people listened to lectures and got the opportunity to pose questions to water experts.
“Groundwater is the future. Period,” said Charles Porter, author and assistant professor at St. Edwards University in Austin and author of “Sharing the Common Pool: Water Rights in the Everyday Lives of Texans.”
The water expert discussed the state’s historical dependence on both groundwater and surface water systems. “Texas is soon to be back in drought at any given time,” Porter said, calling the masses to action to consider the importance of water.
Often, different areas of Texas tend to have different attitudes toward water usage and sourcing, such as Corsicana residents often preferring not to share water with surrounding areas, according to Porter, or Austin relying too heavily on water from the Colorado River.
A greater effort needs to go into informing the public about water conservation, and that process should start with Realtors informing their tenants on how they access and manage water usage. Realtors can sharpen their knowledge of local water by attending water district meetings, Porter said.
Dirk Aaron, general manager of the Belton-based Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District, echoed Porter’s sentiments, praising efforts he had in advocating for Texas House Bill 1221. The bill pertains to seller disclosure in connection with residential real property subject to groundwater regulation.
State Rep.-elect Brad Buckley, R-Salado, spoke after Porter, committing to chasing legislation for proper water management.
“For me, it’s not only a huge public policy issue, but it’s quite personal,” Buckley said, referring to a well at his Salado home. “It’s been a personal experience with what happens to our groundwater in times of drought.
“It’s not a matter of if we’ll be in drought, but when in Texas.”