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Letter to the Editor - Drought Disaster Grant

Published Aug. 8, 2012 @ 6 a.m.

I hope this letter will clarify the issues that the Commissioner’s Court faces and the opportunities that we are taking advantage of in this disaster situation.

Garza County has passed a resolution which states our support for a disaster grant, to be administered by South Plains Association of Governments in the amount of $350,000.  As of the writing of this letter we have the verbal commitment from the Texas Department of Agriculture funding, that our application is approved. This application has been approved by two other counties and three cities, that qualify, in the White River Water District. These funds collectively amount to $2,100,000 to support an ‘urgent need’ ,as described by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The White River Water District qualified for these funds in early July 2012. The time was very short to qualify for the funds and get the applications in. This is the first time that we know of that a county has qualified for this drought related disaster and that funds were directed to our county residents.

The White River board began a search for grants for water many months ago and brought to the counties, the City of Post and other White River member cities the opportunities they had found to refurbish the water system, through grant opportunities. Long term upgrades to the White River water system is very much in their long range plans. They learned of this disaster grant opportunity in May.

Garza County’s interest in the application is for the twelve county residents on the pipeline that White River serves between the City of Post limits and the north Garza county line. The Stage 3 restrictions will not reduce water for these households or any kind of livestock needs.

This disaster grant is not an answer that will fix all of our water problems. It is, just as it is described, a short term response to an ‘urgent need’.  These funds will be used to drill wells to expand an emergency water supply. It is because of the effort and foresight of the White River Water District that we can make every attempt to take advantage of State help when it is available. Garza County is lending support to our area to pursue the need in finding new water sources.

Not only do we have concern for the twelve county residents, but it has been brought to our attention at our last commissioners court meeting, the plan by the City of Post, to abate the annexation of the Dalby Correctional Facility property. We will work diligently to come to an agreement with the City as they have promised to continue providing water for the prison. Their plan to move the prison out of the City limits puts a much larger responsibility on the needs of county services and our interest in supporting the White River Water District and their goal to provide sustainable water in the future.

We are very grateful to our local White River directors and all of the White River Water District directors and staff for their efforts. Planning for the future water needs of Garza County and being proactive in addressing  our needs during a disaster is a large responsibility.

Thank you,
Garza County Judge Lee Norman 

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