COLLEGE STATION – Groundwater leasing, marketing and sales will be the focus of a conference Sept.14 at the College of Forestry Conference Center at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches.
The conference is designed for landowners, real estate agents, bankers, and members of soil and water conservation districts and groundwater conservation districts involved in groundwater transactions, said Dr. Ronald Kaiser, a Texas A&M University recreation, parks and tourism professor whose specialty is water marketing, law and policy.
“Buying and leasing water is not a new idea. Landowners and cities have been buying and selling water for more than 100 years,” Kaiser said. “However, in the last five years, cities have increasingly sought to acquire groundwater from rural areas and move it to growing population centers. It is a hot topic, and the political and public interest is definitely up.
“East Texas has water,” he said, “and there have proposals in the past to move water from East to Central and South Texas called Trans-Texas.” Nothing happened with that because of political opposition.
Speakers include a number of experts and attorneys who deal with water issues. A question-and-answer forum will allow participants to interact with the experts. The conference will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. Invited speakers and topics are:
– Kaiser, the status of groundwater marketing in Texas.
– Russell Johnson, an attorney from San Antonio, ownership of Texas groundwater and landowners’ rights to use and sell their groundwater.
– Mary Sahs, an attorney from Austin, the powers and duties of groundwater districts regarding water sales and transfers and the fees that districts can charge when water is exported.
– Lonnie Jones, professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University, possible economic impacts on rural and urban communities when groundwater is sold, exported or imported.
– Charles Gilliland, professor and research economist with the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University, possible impact on land values and property taxes from the sale of groundwater.
– Frank Ruttenberg, an attorney from San Antonio, options and transaction forms that can be used by landowners and cities when selling, leasing or conveying groundwater.
– Bill Dugat, a water attorney from Austin, items that landowners should consider when selling or leasing their groundwater.
Space is limited for the conference and participants are encouraged to pre-register. Registration until Sept. 1 is $55. Registration after the deadline or on-site is $75. To register, call Kathryn Nachlinger at (979) 845-5419 or register online at http://texaswater.tamu.edu.