Annual report due in April
By Elsa Maxey
Four county residents have been reappointed by the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court to serve on the Fort Bend Subsidence District Board of Directors. With their two year terms to begin on January 31, Harvey Ludwig, James Clark, Jon Strange and Morris Mitchell will represent the county in relation to regulating groundwater withdrawals to prevent land subsidence. Marvin Marcell and Bobby Kunz, also previously appointed by the commissioners court to represent county interests, each has a term ending next year.
The subsidence district, which is governed by a board of 13 directors, has boundaries encompassing all the territory within Fort Bend County. While the mayors of the larger cities in Fort Bend each appoint a director to the subsidence district, the mayor of Houston also appoints one since a small portion of the county is within the Houston city limits. The commissioners court appointments consist of two directors who represent agricultural interests and live in an unincorporated area, two directors who represent industrial interests, and two directors who represent business interests.
In April, the Fort Bend Subsidence District will be issuing an annual groundwater report for the year ending December 2012. The subsidence district requires cities in Fort Bend to begin partially substituting surface water sources for groundwater withdrawals. Plans for groundwater reduction have been developed throughout the county to address meeting conversion deadlines of up to 60 percent by 2025.
In Sugar Land, for example, to meet the Fort Bend Subsidence District requirement to reduce its water supply from groundwater wells, the city planned for the construction of a surface water treatment plant that will have cost $71 million. “One of the most complex programs that the city has worked on in its history,” which is expected to be completed late this summer to reduce the city’s dependence on groundwater, said City Manager Alan Bogard at the recent presentation of the state of the city address.