In light of several concerted political moves pitting the communities surrounding Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake Granbury against one another, Hood County Judge Darrell Cockerham said area governments should be working together to protect their lakes.

A precedent for such cooperation is being set right now in south Texas, as communities along the lower Colorado River south of Austin have recently formed a coalition to lobby for surface water rights from the Lower Colorado River Authority, or LCRA, according to a June 16 article from Austin Community Newspapers.

Members of the coalition include the City of Bastrop, county judges and commissioners from Bastrop, Colorado and Matagorda Counties, as well as organizations such as Ducks Unlimited.

Called the Lower Colorado River Basin Coalition, the group represents the interests of communities who feel as though the Highland Lakes, north of Longhorn Dam in Austin, are favored in emergency drought protocols being considered by the LCRA. Similar to Young and Palo Pinto counties, these rural communities’ economic viability rests on the water sources for sustained agriculture, wildlife and tourism.

Communities surrounding PK Lake and Lake Granbury are in disagreement on how much water should be released from PK Lake downstream to Lake Granbury, and the Brazos River Authority controls the flow of water between the two lakes and beyond.

The agency releases water from PK Lake to maintain the flow of the Brazos River as well as balance the economic impact of drought on the two lakes. Cockerham believes the lake communities are being pitted against each other by the BRA. The agency, according to Cockerham, is more concerned with making money to support the agency than fulfilling its key objective, the conservation of the Brazos River System.

“They have $97 million in the bank,” said Cockerham. “How much does it take to manage the Brazos River?”

Read the entire story in this Wednesday's Graham Leader.