Brazos River Water Contracts with Oil and Gas Companies Doubled in Last Year-Pumping is on the Honor SystemSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Brazos River Water Contracts with Oil and Gas Companies Doubled in Last Year-Pumping is on the Honor System

18 January 2007 at 11:48:54 AM

I was talking with a local resident this morning about water being pumped out of the Brazos for use by oil companies. He mentioned that there was someone who lives on the Brazos River that pumps water out and then resells it to the O&G (for use by them to frac wells, etc). Seems to me, if I'm understanding this article from the Weatherford Democrat correctly, that would bypass someone going through the Brazos River Authority and having the amount they use being monitored or limited in some fashion. I say, *some fashion*, because the amount of water is reported to the Brazos River Authority on an honor system.

This month, Pierce said 30 contracts currently exist, including rights to 5,000 acre feet of water, a 500 percent increase in quantity over the span of one year.

Pierce said the BRA relies on the honor system to keep track of how much water the oil and gas customers are using.

“It’s voluntary reporting, so for the BRA, we ask our customers to report how much they pump — and they’re supposed to keep track of it on their pumps — and on the 10th of each month, they have to give us a report on how much they pumped for the prior month,” she explained.

It isn't clear to me that anything beyond just saying how much water is being used is the point of the report. Plus, since it's on the honor system, who knows if the companies reporting this are being truthful or, kindly, sloppy? Two questions I also have are: What does it cost to have a contract with the Brazos River Authority versus someone selling water from their property on the Brazos, ie, is it cheaper? And, under what conditions would the BRA actually cut off water for an O&G (drought certainly would be one)?

Of interest along this line is the hierarchy of water rights. Someone can go to the TCEQ and get a permit for surface water, but if there's a drought, the TCEQ could cut off the tap, so to speak. That's why the BRA believes a contract with them is a better option.

“Let’s say for instance there was a really, terrible, terrible drought,” Pierce said. “At some point, the state would start cutting off junior water rights. Because we have the senior water right in [the area between Possum Kingdom and Lake Granbury], anybody that purchases water through us, is pretty much guaranteed that the water is going to be there because we have senior water rights.”

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1 - joe   18 Jan 2007 @ 4:17:45 PM  I was looking at the satellite pics of the river and think I see exactly where your person was talking about. There is a dip in the river at one point and it appears there is a trail from the river up to the processing plant that's being built in hood county just on the N (East side but North) end of the county line.
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