Our Woodlands. Our Future.

Blog Posts

Montgomery County MUD Elections

by Bruce Tough

EARLY VOTING
APRIL 25 - APRIL 30 & MAY 2 - MAY 3 8 am - 5 pm
ELECTION DAY
SATURDAY, MAY 7 7 am - 7 pm

Saturday, May 7 is election day for the Directors of our local Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) in The Woodlands. Early voting is currently underway through May 3.

I support the candidates below who were vetted and recommended by TownshipFuture. These folks have managed our MUDs responsibly and will protect our community from risks and problems associated with aquifer depletion and subsidence. They are experienced and extremely talented directors who have invested hundreds of hours in research and understanding these issues.

TownshipFuture recommendations for Montgomery County MUD Director Elections

The results of these elections will likely impact how our community will address the dangers posed by subsidence, which is the compaction of soil and the sinking of land that results from overpumping groundwater and declining aquifer levels.

Montgomery County has sunk an average of about ¾ feet since 2001, with some areas sinking up to about 1.5 feet.

Subsidence is irreversible and increases flooding by altering drainage patterns, lowering ground levels, and decreasing the ground permeability.

To help prevent subsidence, experts say we must halt the decline in aquifer levels by withdrawing no more water than the natural recharge rate. We can do this by conserving water and utilizing more surface water in lieu of groundwater.

In 2015, with voter approval to finance the construction of a surface water plant on Lake Conroe operated by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), The Woodlands MUDs adopted an initial plan to utilize 65 percent surface water to meet growing demand and to reduce the groundwater pumping to 35 percent of demand. This would add life to existing wells and prevent further subsidence. This level of utilizing surface water was not sustainable for mostly economic reasons since several signers of what is known as a Groundwater Reduction Plan are not living up to their contractual obligations to cover the higher cost of treating surface water.
 
While groundwater is less costly in the short run, overpumping our aquifers is high risk and will cost us more in the long run. In addition to increased damages from flooding, declining aquifer levels also introduce other problems and associated costs:

  • Disturbances in fault lines
  • Damage to well casings
  • Higher groundwater pumping costs (greater pumping heights and bigger motors)
  • The need to drill wells deeper or totally replace them
  • Permanent loss of aquifer capacity due to soil compaction

There are two different slates of candidates in each of the MUD elections in The Woodlands:

  • Our experienced incumbent MUD directors who have been working to reduce subsidence in The Woodlands Area by reducing the amount of groundwater that we pump by replacing it with surface water provided by the SJRA  
  • A slate of new candidates whose agendas make no mention of concerns about flooding, subsidence, cost of water, or conservation, but focus on false and misleading claims about alleged shortcomings in MUD conduct.

I encourage you to research this topic and make an informed vote in the May 7 MUD elections. 
 
Here are some resources you may find useful:

League of Women Voters’ Candidate Q&A (www.Vote411.org)

Where to vote on voting day

Where to vote early

White Paper on Subsidence in The Woodlands by Robert H. Leilich, Et al. 

Article concerning subsidence in The Woodlands and Houston Area by Mike Bass

Related Facts: 
Top