Monthly Archives: October 2018

Let’s Wargame: Growing a Private Water Utility When Constrained by Aquifer Regulations

In our podcast episode 4, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Our Local Water Wackiness,” we gamed out how you might grow your revenues if you were a private water utility in a groundwater district that limits groundwater extraction. This is a hypothetical “wargaming” exercise but has been tested with people that definitely understand the landscape.

1. Own a significant matrix of wells over the largest aquifer in the state of Texas.

2. Lobby for legislation to move to an elected, rather than appointed, board for the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District.

3. Start a 501(c)4 and work with the Tea Parties to promote candidates running on personal property rights, transparency, elimination of waste, and lower water bills – things right in the wheelhouse. Highlight the ineptitude, waste and incestuous relationships of the current board with a monopolistic surface water supplier.

4. Succeed in electing a new board that will elminate, reduce or fundamentally redefine extraction limits in the aquifer. Perhaps the board reduces or eliminates export fees. Ideally the board will drop its appeal in Conroe et al vs. LSGCD and effectively acknowledge that it cannot regulate “large-volume groundwater users to reduce how much groundwater they use annually.

5. Use the new extraction limits as proof that the SJRA surface water treatment plant was not necessary and that $400M of public bonds to build the plant were improperly issued.

6. Private operators withdraw from or reduce payments to the surface water GRP which goes, in part, to pay the principal and interest on the bonds.

7. SJRA sues the entities that exit the GRP and raises rates to those who remain to make up for the lost revenue and increased litigation costs. The Woodlands would likely take the brunt. This further agitates the voter base. Letters to state representatives are written.

8. Win a decision in the Supreme Court that the SJRA bonds were improperly issued. Create a a $400M public debt crisis for the Texas Legislature.

9. An investment group appears and offers to take over payments to the SJRA for the bond debt in exchange for water extraction rights. The Texas Legislature, behind a demanding voter base, passes legislation to reduce groundwater regulation in some meaningful way.

10. Create a groundwater supply footprint capable of supporting new developments and the exportation of water monetizing billions of dollars of water in the aquifer.

The President of Quadvest, a private water utility, is also the Chairman of Restore Affordable Water. Since it is a 501(c)4 and not a PAC, its contributors (investors?) will never be made public. Wouldn’t it be nice to know who, exactly, is supporting the efforts to elect candidates that may very well believe that the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District uses “Junk Science” to set water policy (Hardman shared article on campaign page); used a massively incorrect recharge rate to set policy (Bouche comment); along with the SJRA is running a “fear and propaganda campaign” (Prykryl share on campain page)? Or a candidate that believes the SJRA is scaring “people into thinking we will fall into the ocean if we keep pumping groundwater” (Spigener on his campaign page)? And candidates that flat-out oppose regulations (Melder share on campaign page, Rogers in a MCTP vetting video)?

Restore Affordable Water has purchased airtime on Lone Star Radio. On October 9th, Simon had as his guest Mike Stoecker who is a “water ultility provider in the Montgomery County Area.” He has Simon’s confidence. In response to Simon’s question, “if you were on the board, what is the first thing you would do?” Mike responds, “I don’t know if I want to tell you that on the air because it would give away the gameplan.” To which Simon answers, “yep.” Here is the video but you have to slide to 47:45 to hear the exchange.

As president of Quadvest, Simon Sequeira owns (among other things) their corporate growth strategy. In addition, Quadvest’s corporate Vision Statement states the following:

By the year 2025, we will be serving no less than 100,000 customers with operational excellence. By the year 2035, we will be the First Choice wholesale and retail utility provider in Texas. First Choice means: First in employee and customer satisfaction; First Choice Partner for Developers, Engineers, and Lawyers.

It is safe to assume that Quadvest cannot achieve a vision like this without access to groundwater.

Vote as you wish… of course! No one in Texas will fault anyone for voting for personal property rights or economic growth. Just do it with your eyes wide open and know that you are not voting for your water bill to go down (we tackle that one in podcast episode 3).

You may want to stop and consider candidates that believe in local groundwater management, managing subsidence, protecting small well owners, regulating aquifer levels, controlling the cost of well development, and enabling the development of viable groundwater alternatives in the face of signficant population growth. Or not. But make it about that. Again, not your water bill.

Incidentally, Side of Reason believes that no matter what, phases 2, 3 and 4 of the SJRA surface water treatment plant must be delayed until a prudent time according to the water demands of the county. This action does not require a RAW slate.

Screenshots of cited information not otherwise linked above:

Episode 4: Hitchhiker’s Guide to Our Local Water Wackiness

Your water bill can’t go down measurably with a new LSGCD board, but could it go up? We explore that and analyze bigger issues that could be in play while a 501(c)4 organization, Restore Affordable Water, advocates for more limited water regulation in a Tea Party-driven county.

Episode 3: Water 101 – Raw Truth

Can an elected board for the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District lower your water bill? We describe the components of cost in your water bill and show that the board itself can do very little to directly lower yours.

In Our Defense

We had an interesting exchange this week with a candidate for Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District in which our character was called into question. After we responded, the entire post was deleted. Since the disparaging comments were available to the public for hours and our response was only available for a few minutes, we offer them here.

The following transcript is derived from screen captures of the discussion. We note the two locations below where the screen captures were not complete. The screen captures are provided for substantiation and any errors are not intentional.

Jon began by shared an article from The Golden Hammer with the comment, “Great information here.”

Side of Reason 

As a person running for public office, we take articles that you share as a window into your point of view unless you state otherwise. Two Questions:

1) Are there any elements of this article you do not agree with or find misleading? If so, which elements?

2) Would we expect your policy choices in office to match the last sentence of the article? “Citizens will have the direct ability to turn the spigots of junk science and needless regulations of private water property rights off forever.” (note: the words in italics were not captured in the screen caputre)

Jon Paul Bouche for Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Place 3 
I said there was some great information. If you take exception to some part of that article, let’s discuss it. The recharge rate as stated by the USGS is, in fact, six times greater than the recharge rate used by the LSGCD when they were putting together their models. (note: the words in italics were not captured in the screen capture)
Side of Reason 

The study that you and Mr. Yollick cite was published in 1996 and did in fact yield a recharge rate of 6 inches per year but for limited parts of the Chicot and Evangeline aquifers. The deep Jasper aquifer, which is a major source of groundwater for the district was not included (over 500 ft deep –

The Study used tritium as a ground-water tracer in outcrops in a 2,000 square mile area in Harris, Montgomery and Walker counties. The depth of the study was limited to the water table at a depth of 10 – 75 feet because, “the seismic-refraction method was applied in the study area is not reliable for detecting water tables deeper than about 75 ft.” The entire study can be read here:

Mr. Yollick indicates in his article that “The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the foremost geological survey in the world. It has remained non-political and operates almost entirely as an independent organization within the United States Department of the Interior.”

If we can agree that the USGS is an important source, then it is certainly worth looking at other studies that they may have published.

One is the 2004 report entitled, “Hydrogeology and Simulation of GroundWater Flow and Land-Surface Subsidence in the Norther Part of the Gulf Coast Aquifer System, Texas” ( Another is the 2013 report entitled, “Estimated Rates of Groundwater Recharge to the Chicot, Evangeline, and Jasper Aquifers by Using Environment Tracer in Montgomery and Adjacent Counties, Texas, 2008 and 2011” ( These yield a wide variety of results with a wide variety of sizing and location conditions:

  • Chicot and Evangeline in aggregate: 7in/yr and 0.4 in/yr
  • Evangeline and Jasper in aggregate: 2 in/yr and 1.2 in/yr
  • Chicot: 1.3 in/yr and .2 to 7.2 in/yr
  • Evangeline: 1.2 in/yr, 1.5 in/yr, 0.5 in/yr and 0.1in/yr
  • Entire Gulf Coast Aquifer in aggregate: 0-1 in/yr, 0.12 in/yr, 0.25 in/yr, 1-2 in/yr

The article you share cherry picks a high recharge rate and excludes a major aquifer. Using a 6 in/yr recharge rate to set extraction limits effectively deregulates the use of groundwater. It is important for voters to know now – not after entering office – what mindset each candidate will us in setting policy especially given the volumes of information available right now.

Jon Paul Bouche for Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Place 3 

As I state above… “I plan to look at all of the information that is available and consult with hydro-geologists to ensure that the best decisions are made.”

Jon Paul Bouche for Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Place 3 

I understand there is competing science here and people want to pick and choose which report says whatever they agree with. It would be senseless to get into a debate with you about which report has more weight in this discussion. Ultimately, the board will have to sit down and discuss all of these reports and make the best decision and this what I plan to do if elected.

John Paul Bouche for Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Place 3 

Scott. You and your wife Andrea did a webcast about the new Montgomery County Republican Party bylaws a few weeks ago and there was just a lot of misinformation in that webcast. Even though we are FB friends and my phone number is easily accessible, prior to that webcast you did [not, sic] bother to reach out to me before calling me out in your webcast. Then after doing a bit of research into who you and your wife associate with, it all made sense. It just seems to me that if you were really interested in getting the information right, you would have spoken with someone who was involved in the process before doing your webcast. That is why I sent you a message after I saw your webcast. If you are going to put yourself out there and do a webcast, I think it is important that you at least make an honest effort to get the information right.

Subsequently, when the SREC voted 64-0 against your position on the new bylaws, instead of having the character to accept the truth and desist in your approach, you simply did another webcast and imputed motives on the people who were instrumental in adoption the new bylaws. Gotta say…… not cool.

Here is what I think that people need to understand about this situation… … The new bylaws were passed to modernize the party, energize the party and unify a party that has been divided for many years. That’s it. There are no ulterior motives and I will have you know that I voted for Chairman Wilkerson and removing him from office was never discussed.

Over the past 20-30 years, the demographics of Montgomery County have changed considerably and yet the MCRP has not evolved much at all, that is until these new bylaws were adopted. The changes were needed and we have made great progress even though we continually have to deal with people who have dispensed with logic and reason and continue to make specious emotional arguments to try and further divide the party. I would welcome your efforts to help unify the party but thus far, I have not seen that from you.

In closing, I will say that your interest in my race for the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District is certainly not coincidental. Of all of the races going on in November, you have suddenly taken a keen interest in mine. I have sent you an hour long video explaining pretty much everything you would want to know about why I am in this race. I have told you that I will look at whatever information is put forth and be objective in my evaluation of that information and in the decisions that I will make if elected. So people will have a choice on Election Day. They can vote for more of the same and elect the incumbent which will most certainly maintain the status quo if that is what they want. Or… they can vote for the other guy in the race who has a criminal record (it’s public information so you can do your own research on this.). But if they don’t like those candidates, then they can vote for me. I have over 20 years of training and experience in doing complex audits and investigations all over the United States and abroad. I take pride in the community service that I do and I hope that everyone will do their research before they cast their vote.

We will talk after the election.

Side of Reason 

The Side of Reason is brand new. We released our first podcast, our website and our Facebook page on September 19th. We exist to research topics where we believe that there is missing information in the public view. As you must know, my wife Andrea has been involved in MoCo politics since the road bond in 2015 and she was an instrumental part of the fight to convert the Township seats. The husband side of this operation (me) has literally been active in issues since August 17th of this year.

It was on that day that I saw your Facebook post describing the new committees in the MCRP. I examined the document you provided and I noticed that there were quite a few precinct chairs that were not assigned to committees and I thought that was a bit odd. I wrote to many of them to try & find out why. At the same time I wrote to you on Facebook to ask for a copy of the new MCRP bylaws. I proceeded to study the old and new bylaws and couldn’t believe they could change so drastically and so I started researching. I read the rules of the RPT, the Texas Election Code, Robert’s Rules of Order, statements from Mr. Dickey, legal positions, posts from you, Reagan Reed, and others. I read the bylaws of other counties in Texas. I even read the bylaws from other states! I’ve watched and re-watched the June 26th CEC meeting, attended the August 28th CEC meeting in person and listened to the two SREC hearings involving Dr. Wilkerson.

And so we launched our first podcast with a passionately held point of view and jumped into the fray.

You state in your post that “when the SREC voted 64-0 against your position on the new bylaws, instead of having the character to accept the truth and desist in your approach, you simply did another webcast and imputed motives…”

When the SREC voted, we literally issued a post THAT DAY entitled, “Today’s SREC Meeting Changed the Validity of the New MCRP Bylaws. Here’s How.” In it we said, “We suggest the following: 1) Chairman Wilkerson accept the ruling and abide by the new bylaws. 2) We suggest that the SREC amend the RPT Rule 8e to provide extreme clarity for the process for a CEC to adopt new bylaws (IE match the text in 8C and 8d).” This was to the great disappointment of many supporting Dr. Wilkerson.

Yes, we mentioned you in our podcast… because you are actually literally in the center of this issue and weren’t the only one we mentioned by name.

We knew when we started Side of Reason that the water issue would be our second issue. Why? I noticed the Restore Affordable Water 501(c)4 materials and like anyone I was drawn in because I would like a lower water bill. I read their presentation, “We have a Government Problem, Not A Water Problem.” On page nine, it shows a chart stating that the Gulf Coast Aquifer in Montgomery County has 180 MILLION acre-feet of water and the LSGCD only allows MoCo to pump 64,000 acre-feet of water per year. When I read something like that I think ‘there must be more to this – what kind of entity would allow MoCo to extract only 0.036% of the available water each year?’

So I found out over the last two weeks. I have read USGS reports, SJRA and LSGCD annual reports, the 2003 Groundwater Plan, strategic summaries, the MODFLOW modeling process, LSGCD minutes, GMA14 minutes, subsidence reports, LSGCD bylaws, summaries of lawsuits and appeals. Our filebox grows daily. I watched Simon interview RAW candidates on Lone Star Radio. I watched Erick Yollick’s “Hammer Time” with Mr. Hardman and Larry Rogers. Yes, I even watched your Tea Party vetting interview (I encourage everyone to watch – it is eye opening). I reached out to folks that have served on a MUD. I attended the Chamber of Commerce candidate’s forum. I reached out and met with SJRA and the GM of the Harris-Galveston Subsidence district. I’ve learned how the LSGCD budgets and their sources of income. I learned the nature of the SJRA surface water conversion plan (and its financing) and the SJRA fee on our water bills. I learned about proportional and historic groundwater reduction. I studied the impact of the 64,000 acre-feet rule and why the number was changed to 100,000 (pending adoption of the GMA14). I wrote the GM of the WJPA (he did not respond). I wrote to RAW and literally asked for a meeting with Simon Sequiera (which was ignored). I have other emails queued. And as you very well know, I wrote to you (after hearing your view that I should reach out to those involved before assuming motive). Until you cancelled our meeting today, we were going to meet tomorrow [Friday, Oct 12] at 3pm. It’s in my calendar.

In tomorrow’s discussion, I was going to attempt to understand your policy view and share my concern with you that if the board acts in the way I believe RAW would like for it to and drops the legal appeals process, increases (or abandons) the extraction limit or any number of other *possibilities* that rates could actually GO UP in The Woodlands because of the public debt associated with the surface water treatment plant. In fact, I think that’s what this election is all about: the debt and its repayment through fees to the GRP. As a candidate attempting to represent Precinct 3 (MY precinct) I thought you might want to know this. I was honestly looking forward to hearing where I might be wrong BEFORE we do our first podcast.

Yes – you are in the middle of this one too. You are running for a seat and are endorsed by RAW.

I would have waited to discuss anything on this until our meeting tomorrow but then you shared on this campaign page the very sort of article that got us fighting misinformation in the first place from the Golden Hammer. It states among other things that the recharge rate is really 6 in/yr and not 1.1 in/yr as assumed by the LSGCD. I asked you if you share the view in the article and I gave you a chance to walk yourself back from it and clarify your policy view. Instead you doubled down stating, “The recharge rate as stated by the USGS is, in fact, six times greater than the recharge rate used by the LSGCD when they were putting together their models.” These then became YOUR words which I refuted. You dismissed my post and effectively said, “I will conduct research once I’m in office and make the best decision.’ Voters like me aren’t voting for ‘investigation, audit or research capability.’ We want to know what you’ll do in office. By the way, I actually looked at all of the other RAW candidates to see if anyone else shared the article. If they had, I’d have engaged them as well because I found the article to be so terribly misleading and I honestly couldn’t believe you or anyone else running for office would share it.

After all of this you resorted to a very personal attack on our integrity and character.

You have misjudged our motives in the most severe way. You assume things about us that are false. You believe we have it out for you personally – that you are somehow in our crosshairs. You imply that our associates drive our behavior or points of view. You insult our intelligence and most importantly the essence of who we are. We work in concert with no one but each other. We research the heck out of our topics and present our opinions. We WELCOME being challenged and in fact invite it. We absolutely admit when we’re wrong (we even did so once on September 28th).

We are not who you think we are. Your post is ugly, unwarranted, and unbecoming of a public official.

Update 10/12 – we missed the share of the same article on Harry Hardman’s page. It was also discovered on Richard Rankel’s page who is not a RAW-endorsed candidate. We have since inquired with them – this was an honest oversight

Update 10/18 – since this post, Simon Sequeira and Jim Stinson have reached out to us. It was not our intention to disparage them for not having done so – we were merely trying to represent the scale of our attempted conversations. We are grateful to both.