Summer Intern Program
As one of their many efforts to engage and educate the local community, Duval County GCD launched a Summer Intern Program four years ago. The District’s board brought the program to General Manager Luis Peña was very supportive of the idea. Duval County GCD works with the local high school principal and guidance counselor to select students for the program. The district chooses interns who are college
bound and who have expressed an interest in pursuing a degree in the sciences. The program’s first intern will be graduating from Texas A&M this year.
The internship program allows the students to shadow the District’s General Manager throughout the summer. The students become familiar with all aspects of district operations as they work with the General Manager to complete water quality testing, locate and log wells, and attend board meetings and outreach events. The program provides students a unique opportunity to become familiar with technical procedures as well as an introduction into how policy and legal issues inform the operations of a district. The program culminates with the students presenting a report to the district.
Twice a year, once in the summer and again just before the beginning of the hunting season, Duval County GCD hosts informational workshops on a variety of topics for the community. The District invites representatives from Texas Parks and Wildlife, US Department of Agriculture, Texas/Mexico Border Coalition, and local law enforcement to each give a brief presentation on their respective organizations, the services they provide, and issues they encounter in the area. The District then takes the opportunity to give the audience an introduction to Duval County GCD, its rules, and encourages the community to take advantage of the services they provide.
One of the many services Duval County GCD offers to the community is a well plugging program. Homeowners may either hire a contractor to preform the service for them and then receive reimbursement from the District or have the District contract directly with a water well driller to plug the well. This service is valuable to the county as it not only maintains the quality of the groundwater in the area, but also helps to ensure the safety of wildlife, livestock, and humans who have fallen into abandoned wells in the past. The District budgets $60,000 per year and so far the district has plugged 15 wells. They hope an adjustment to their well plugging program rules will allow for more in the future.
Water Quality Testing
Duval County GCD offers free water quality testing to residents in the county. The samples are collected by District staff and tested for 10 different types of possible contaminates. The District has tested approximately 40 wells so far, while simultaneously registering wells that were not previously registered with the District.
Challenges and Opportunities
One of the challenges Duval County GCD faces is the monitoring of injection wells in the area, especially as they relate to the possible designation of brackish water production zones. The District will continue to monitor these wells to ensure the quality of the groundwater in Duval County.
For more information, visit duvalgcd.org.