A settlement has been reached between the City of Conroe and the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation district, bringing an end to a years long legal battle between the two government entities.
Conroe filed a lawsuit against the LSGCD in 2015 in response to harsh groundwater regulations implemented by the district. The regulations required Conroe to reduce it’s groundwater usage by 30 percent, and use more expensive surface water from the San Jacinto River Authority instead.
The LSGCD board at the time was closely connected to the SJRA, and drew criticism from private groundwater companies and the public for essentially giving the SJRA a government monopoly on water. Current LSGCD Director Jon Bouche described the LSGCD district under the old board as being a “groundwater monetization district”.
In September 2018, visiting Judge Lamar McCorkle ruled that the LSGCD did not have the authority to impose the regulations on groundwater usage it did on Conroe, a decision which the LSGCD appealed. In the following months, a new board was elected campaigning against the old board’s regulations.
The new board voted in January to end the lawsuit and approve a settlement. The Conroe city council then voted unanimously to accept the settlement.
The settlement is a great victory for taxpayers, who were forced to foot the bill for the costly litigation. Over the last three years, taxpayers spent approximately $1.8 millionon the lawsuit.
“I am very pleased that the City of Conroe voted unanimously to accept our settlement agreement,” said LSGCD Vice-President Harry Hardman. “Now we can both get back to focusing on governing in the best interests of the citizens of Montgomery County.”