A Field Guide to TAGD

Getting to know the ins and outs of an association can at times feel “mysterious and occult”. Please consider this your field guide to understanding how TAGD works.

History

TAGD was created in 1988 by a small group of GCDs as a way for them to stay current with the quickly evolving world of groundwater policy and science. Since then, TAGD has grown to represent 85 GCDs and an additional 40 associate members. As a 501(c)3, TAGD’s mission has remained dedicated to being an educational resource to GCDs, providing a central place for emerging news in the groundwater world, and most importantly to unify the GCD voice in policy dialogues.

TAGD is organized by 9 TAGD Areas, and its leadership is designed to represent each of those areas. TAGD has two full time staff, and provides you with a wide range of resources and services. Below, you will find instructions on how to make the most of your TAGD membership and ways to become involved. What follows includes a summary of our events, committees, and communications by TAGD.

How to Get Involved

TAGD’s purpose is to be a resource to you, and there are various ways to become involved. The best way to accomplish this is to attend TAGD events and to join TAGD committees. Participating in surveys are another way to become engaged in the association. Surveys with robust member participation are the best way to be affective in strengthening the discussion about GCDs and the good work that you do. Whether as a GCD or Associate member, there are always ways to become involved.

Events

TAGD hosts three Regular Business Meetings throughout the year. These typically occur in January, May/June, and August. Regular Business Meetings are held in order to discuss and take action on official business, learn about advances in groundwater science and technology, provide updates on legal and legislative matters, and provide networking opportunities for people working within the groundwater community. These meetings help further TAGD’s mission and are an opportunity for GCD staff and other groundwater professionals to share and learn new information.

In addition to the three Regular Business Meetings, TAGD also hosts an annual Texas Groundwater Summit, and various technical trainings. TAGD is gearing up to host it’s 7th annual Texas Groundwater Summit, which has become a cornerstone groundwater event, drawing almost 400 groundwater professionals for three days of expert panels and presentations. TAGD’s technical trainings include leadership trainings in the fall, which include curriculums designed for new GCD staff and board members, and specific technical trainings in the spring, such as Hydrogeology 101. In addition to these, TAGD also hosts an annual Public Funds Investment Act Training each spring.

Committees

TAGD has several standing committees outlined in our bylaws. Those include the Executive, Finance & Budget, Nominating, Legislative, Information and Education, and Bylaws Committees. Each committee’s membership is made up of either appointed, elected, or volunteered positions. In addition to standing committees, TAGD also maintains some revolving committees, such as the Groundwater Protection Committee and Conference Planning Committee. Committees that do not include appointed or elected members have open registration on a biannual basis and are open to both District and Associate members. More on the makeup and functions of the different committees can be found below.

The Executive Committee is TAGD’s most important committee, overseeing its vital functions, staff and actions. It has the power to fill vacancies of officer; represent TAGD during the legislative session; gather information and make decisions for TAGD as directed by the membership; review, adopt, and take action on financial matters; and perform other duties and responsibilities deemed necessary by the membership. It is comprised of TAGD’s elected officers, the immediate past President, and one member elected from each TAGD Area that is not represented by another member of the Executive Committee. Officer elections are held on a biannual basis.

The Finance and Budget Committee is responsible for overseeing TAGD’s financials, formulating and presenting an annual budget for the fiscal year and providing for an audit of TAGD’s financial affairs as needed. This committee is chaired by the current Treasurer, and consists of the the Vice-President, and three TAGD members appointed by the President. An approved Financial Policy guides the actions taken by this committee.

The Nominating Committee is responsible for reviewing nominations solicited from the membership at large and from those, recommending the slate of officers for upcoming TAGD elections. It includes the current TAGD President and the two immediate past presidents.

The Legislative Committee is responsible for discussing and taking action on relevant, pending legislation. If possible, the committee will develop a position and act on such legislation with approval from the Executive Committee. This committee is also responsible for initiating legislative proposals, policies and resolutions. An approved Legislative Policy guides the actions of this committee, and new TAGD members have the opportunity to join the committee.

Within the Legislative Committee are several legislative subcommittees or workgroups with the task of addressing specific legislative issues. Members of the legislative committee are given the opportunity to join subcommittees when they are formed and committee members are then chosen from those interested members by the TAGD President and Vice President.

The Bylaws Committee reviews and considers changes to TAGD bylaws, policies, and action plans; ensures that TAGD activities and programs operate within the established policy guidelines; and performs other duties and responsibilities deemed necessary by the membership.

The Information and Education Committee is responsible for various public informational activities, including gathering information and formulating plans and programs to promote TAGD and its members, disseminating information to non-member districts and other potential members, and maintaining a dialogue with the public and government officials to educate them on the benefits of groundwater conservation districts.

The Conference Planning Committee 

The Conference Planning Committee assists TAGD and its partners in planning, organizing, and producing our annual Texas Groundwater Summit.

The Groundwater Protection Committee works with the TAGD representative of the Texas Groundwater Protection Committee (TGPC), established in 1989 by the Texas Legislature, and assists the representative in carrying out the duties assigned him/her by the TGPC.

Communications

Weekly Updates & Monthly Newsletters

TAGD sends out weekly updates to the membership each Friday. These emails are a way to make sure we keep you up to date on the latest groundwater issues, and include any important updates from us. In an effort to minimize the amount of emails we send you, the weekly updates contain TAGD updates, invitations to participate in surveys, legislative or agency announcements, and groundwater news and events. These updates are created for members only, and are always organized in the same format, so you know to look at the top for internal TAGD updates.

In addition to the weekly updates, TAGD also sends out a monthly newsletter to our members and interested stakeholders. The monthly newsletter is built to be a summary of important events and news from the month, and often includes a feature article on a GCD, emerging legal issue, or groundwater management case study. TAGD’s monthly newsletters are archived on our website and available to the public at large.

Surveys

In addition to serving as a way for GCDs to stay current, TAGD has increasingly become an important central repository for GCD information. The most important way that TAGD provides this service is through the GCD Index, a free online database with an overview of GCD data. The GCD Index allows the public to easily search for GCD contact information, rules, or demographics based on a few simple parameters. Because GCDs change so significantly each year, TAGD’s asks members to update their GCD Index paramteers at least annually, and member participation in maintaining and updating this database is of utmost importance.

In addition to the GCD Index, TAGD also frequently invites members to participate in online surveys. Surveys will typically address a policy question, or be intended for us in an academic study. Most often, the information is used in policy discussions and TAGD’s testimony. Current and accurate data allows us to best represent you and GCDs, and we appreciate your participation!

Helpful Resources

Bylaws and policies can be found on website here

Information on the different TAGD committees can be found here

More on our upcoming and past events can be found on our Events page here

Take a tour of our GCD Index here

If you’d like more information on joining TAGD, or are interested in applying for membership, please contact Sarah Schlessinger sarah@texasgroundwater.org.