The Brazos River Authority Board of Directors on Monday, March 29, 2021 approved a strategic plan for the upcoming fiscal year with its focus on developing, managing, and protecting the water resources of the Brazos River basin.
The Board reviewed the plan’s mission statement, guiding principles, goals, objectives, and strategies with plans to adopt the document at the July 26, 2021 meeting.
BRA General Manager/CEO David Collinsworth said the organization depends on the strategic plan as new projects regularly arise and staff prioritizes work across the basin.
The strategic plan includes the development of future surface water projects based on economic feasibility, environmental sensitivity and need, said Aaron Abel, BRA water services manager. That includes developing the use of groundwater responsibly and efficiently, supporting reuse as well as conjunctive use (blending surface and groundwater) to increase the benefit of existing water resources.
The plan also states the BRA will protect water resources, and where possible, improve water quality and habitat, to support responsible and efficient use of the Brazos River basin’s natural resources, said Tiffany Malzahn, BRA environmental and compliance manager. These efforts include monitoring and assessing stream and reservoir biology to determine the effectiveness of instream flows and other programs to maintain healthy riparian areas and aquatic life conditions, she said.
The strategic plan calls for continued communications and public relations efforts to ensure transparency and allow public access as well as increased efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
Collinsworth and the Board of Directors also took a few moments to honor former board member Richard Ball, who passed away Feb. 16. Collinsworth said Ball was a great friend and a proud Texan with small town values. Ball was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Board of Directors in 2008 and served six terms. The Board recognized Ball’s lifetime of contributions to the state of Texas and his exemplary service on the board.
During the meeting, the Board also approved executing a not-to-exceed $1.9 million contract with Carollo Engineers, Inc. for consulting services associated with the development and implementation of a risk-based asset management and capital planning program. Collinsworth said this risk-based management approach is one of the most significant undertakings within the organization during his years at the BRA.
Blake Kettler, BRA technical services manager, said the BRA’s current approach to asset management has been successful over the years, but with expanding maintenance for aging dams and development of new water supply projects, there is an expanded need to focus on the development and management of long-term efforts. The program will leverage data collected from operations, financial software system and other various sources and integrate that into an enterprise resource planning system.
Board member Rick Huber said this project, which will take four-to-five years to fully implement, is a tremendous plan to increase the efficiency of the BRA.
The board also authorized an amendment to a contract with Gresham-Smith for an amount not to exceed $20,810. Two new scenarios will be presented to the board to address how best to meet the space demands of the Environmental Services Department and Laboratory which have outgrown the current workplace available at the Central Office in Waco.
The next board meeting will be May 24, 2021. To sign up for Board meeting notification emails, go here. To see a full list of the Board actions, go here. To view minutes from the Board meetings, go here. If you’d also like to sign up to receive the BRA’s quarterly newsletter, please click here.
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