Residents meet with water master over concerns


Residents of the Dove Creek homeowners association near Knickerbocker met last night with officials from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The meeting at the Knickerbocker Community Center was called after numerous Dove Creek residents reached out to the Middle Concho Water Master over concerns farmers renting the land upstream were over pumping.

Residents of Dove Creek just south of San Angelo recently met with officials from the TCEQ on Wednesday, September 19, to discuss concerns they have have over water usage by upstream agricultural renters.

After the meeting, several Dove Creek residents were left with lackluster impressions, given that the leading suggested remedy coming out of the meeting was to file extensive paperwork each year to state how much water they needed so that the TCEQ could ensure it was provided.

One resident spoke with us about how, the recent drought not withstanding, the river had essentially run dry — which for Dove Creek residents is uncommon

“We had a lot of rain recently I think we had about eight inches over two weeks. But prior to that this river was so low all the tree roots were exposed five to six feet,” said Jeanie Woodman. “You could walk along this riverbed down by the dam and people were actually mowing their riverbeds upstream. There was no water — and we’re all concerned that there’s unlawful pumping upstream that we can’t find out about, nor can they address without complaints. So it may be in the hands of the Dove Creek homeowners to consider legislation efforts or seek other means, perhaps through the Bureau of Reclamation”

Another resident said that the last time the Bureau of Reclamation was in the area policing for illegal pumping and seizing illegal pumps was 1991.

TCEQ’s Concho Watermaster Iliana Delgado, from San Antonio, and local officials from the San Angelo offices were also in attendance to address questions put forth by the Dove Creek homeowners association.

Among these questions — how can residents gain access to copies of the documents which govern water usage for Dove Creek, guidelines used for determining who can use how much water, how to keep farms from pumping the creek dry, and what the protocol there is for reassessing what reasonable levels of usage are now as opposed to what was reasonable back in 1914 when many of the water rights were issued.

As of now, the issue is still up in the air, with no clear resolution and many residents questions are still unanswered. Though information requests are still pending for both the TCEQ and the BOR.

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