Letter to Big Bend Sentinel Editor From Mike Thornhill

I read the article April 30, 2010 in the Big Bend Sentinel concerning the Fort Stockton Holding’s (FSH) permit application to the Middle Pecos Underground Water Conservation District. I am Mike Thornhill, and I am a licensed professional geoscientist that specializes in hydrogeology and ground-water resources, and I am president of Thornhill Group, Inc. I have conducted four studies pertaining to the ground-water conditions beneath the FSH land and the Leon-Belding area.

In your article, you quote a few people who say that pumping based on the new FSH permit application could have an adverse impact on neighboring communities. I have found that notion to be completely false. First of all, FSH pumping will not extract any water from the Pecos River, and pumping from the Leon-Belding area has a miniscule, undetectable effect on the Pecos River. Additionally, based on our studies for the area, and our research and experience over the last 22 years, I have found that there is no possible way that neighboring counties or communities could be affected by the amount of pumping that Mr. Williams is requesting. There are several scientific reasons why this is true, many of which we presented to the most recent meeting of Groundwater Management Area 7.

But, the simplest explanation is that FSH is asking to use the same amount of water that they are currently permitted to use, which is even less water than was pumped from FSH’s properties in the past. All they are requesting is a change in use. That is, instead of watering alfalfa, they would like to transfer their water to surrounding communities. The water will either be pumped for farming, or for the beneficial use of thousands of Texans.  The amount of water, however, will not change. So, if the amount of water does not change, the impact will not change. The permits will actually insure that pumping will not be as much as it was in the past.

The thought that the FSH project is a speculative venture is also untrue. As I’ve mentioned, we have spent several years researching this area, and we have the information and materials to prove that this is safe for Fort Stockton and everyone else.

Mike Thornhill
Round Rock

Leave a Reply