ESD 8 wants groundwater district to pay for rainwater collection system
May 17, 2013, 3:00 pm by James Walker
Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District directors were asked Friday to help pay for a rainwater collection system for the Oakalla and Briggs communities.
Johnnie B. Rogers, a member of the board of directors of Emergency Services District No. 8, which includes Oakalla and Briggs, told the directors the district has collected approximately $100,000 from residents in the area in its seven years of existence and should return some of the tax money by financing the rainwater collection system.
A cost estimation of $24,300.49 for a 25,000 gallon tank and installation of the rainwater collection system at the Oakalla Volunteer Fire Department station was submitted by Rain Harvest Resources firm in Liberty Hill last July, Groundwater District General Manager Charles Shell said.
"None of that money has gone back to the citizens except for drilling some test wells,” Rogers said. "I submit to you that the approximately $25,000 to pay for the system still is not in proportion to what the district has collected in taxes in the district.”
Precinct 2 Director Wayne Brown, who represents the Oakalla and Briggs communities, took issue with Rogers’ assertion.
"I can guarantee you we’ve spent $100,000 in that area,” said Brown, who has been the Precinct 2 director since the groundwater district was formed in 2006. "We’ve done a lot of things and spent a lot of money trying to keep Bell and Williamson counties from sucking your area dry.”
Rainwater collection systems can be a big help to firefighters in remote areas in the event of a wildfire and ESD 8 badly needs one, Rogers said.
"We’ve got a 5,000 gallon tanker and once we use that the nearest place to refill is in Kempner,” he said.
The groundwater district gave the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department $7,600 last year to help with the cost of its rainwater collection system.
The directors took no action Friday, but asked Rogers to get three current estimates for the cost of buying the tank and installing the rainwater collection system and agreed to revisit the issue at their next meeting June 14.
For the complete story, see Tuesday’s Highlander and Wednesday’s Burnet Bulletin.
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