Mid-East Texas GCD

Published April 3, 2024 by Julia Stanford

Shoring up the eastern edge of the increasingly populous “Texas Triangle” is Mid-East Texas Groundwater Conservation District. The district covers three counties along I-45 between Houston and Dallas – Freestone, Leon, and Madison. From everyone’s favorite beaver-themed road trip stop, to the Mushroom Capital of Texas, to the recently contested grassy banks of Fairfield Lake, it’s clear that this area has a lot to offer and will continue to play a role in the story of Texas’ growth.

Mid-East Texas GCD was created in 2001 by the 77th Legislature and confirmed by voters in Freestone, Leon, and Madison counties in November 2002. The same bill also created Brazos Valley GCD and Post Oak Savannah GCD, with a primary purpose to protect groundwater in the central Carrizo-Wilcox area and regulate the transport of water out of the boundaries of the districts. Today, Mid-East Texas GCD carries out those responsibilities while also providing great educational value to the region through its partnerships.


Educational Ambassadors

Mid-East Texas GCD prioritizes water education for a variety of ages. The district has been an enthusiastic supporter of the 4-H Water Ambassadors program since 2019, even sponsoring the program at one of the highest levels. 4-H Water Ambassadors are high school students that receive training in many aspects of water management in Texas through a summer “leadership academy.” After attending the academy, students then return to their communities to share what they learned and apply their new skills. Some of the ambassadors in Mid-East Texas GCD assist the district with its educational outreach presentations, including ag days for 4th graders, water fairs for 3rd graders, a county health fair, and more. Through these and other volunteer opportunities, five local ambassadors have accrued over 900 service hours total!

“The ambassadors that have been part of our education program have been eager to participate, and we’ve really enjoyed working with them and helping to further their education and their desire to learn more about water and how important it is within our state,” says David Bailey, General Manager of Mid-East Texas GCD.

Kendal Workman (Leon County 4-H Water Ambassador) and David Bailey present on water wells at the Leon County Health Fair in 2019.

Water Ambassadors present David Bailey with a sponsor recognition plaque at the Texas Groundwater Summit in 2023.

Kyle Workman (4-H Water Ambassador) and David Bailey present to 4th grade students at the Leon County Ag Fair.

Doing More With Less

Out of 98 groundwater conservation districts throughout the state, about 20% of them have only one staff member. Mid-East Texas GCD’s General Manager, David Bailey, is one such “one-man show,” managing duties from administrative tasks to field work to keep the district running effectively. Before joining the district in 2009, David worked in various positions in appraisal districts for 26 years. While Mid-East Texas GCD is not a tax-based district, David’s knowledge and experience in local government certainly has served him well in this position.

David had to become an expert in some new skills too, like measuring and maintaining monitor wells. When the district was created in 2002, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) already utilized a network of about 40 monitor wells within Freestone, Leon, and Madison counties. Since then, the district has expanded the network with about 40 more wells that are monitored and maintained by the district. He measures the water level in each well on an annual basis and shares some of the data to the TWDB to be included in the agency’s groundwater database.

When he’s not busy as the lone ranger of groundwater in his area, David Bailey serves the greater groundwater community as the president of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts. He served two terms as the organization’s treasurer before being elected president in 2023. We at TAGD are grateful for David’s hard work and servant leadership!

[Photo: TAGD 2022-2023 Executive Committee retreat, David is on the far right]

To learn more about Mid-East Texas GCD, visit http://mideasttexasgcd.com/ or contact David Bailey at david_metgcd@att.net.