After serving 33 outstanding years, Joe David Ross is retiring as a director of the Sutton County Underground Water Conservation District.

Ross was recognized for his contribution, legacy and commitment to not only as a member of the Water Board but to the local community and state during a special retirement celebration Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at the St. John’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall.

Andrew Murr made a special appearance to present Ross with an official certificate of recognition and personally commend him on his years of work with the water district and helping ensure the future of water for Texas.

Following a few additional words and presentations Ross took his place at the podium to thank everyone and share his thoughts.


“Our board over the years has been respected all over Texas,” Ross said. “We’ve all been here to look to a greater future. Not just for Sutton County, but all around.”

Pausing to push back his emotion, he continued, “We are really proud of Sonora. All the volunteerism and the real closeness that we have here today. I appreciate all of my family. Appreciate all of you. Let’s keep moving forward.”

Ross was one of the original five board members that included Bobby Doran, Norman Rousselot, Eddie Sawyer, and George Brockman. Dr. Ross served as the first president of the Board in 1985.

In the years since, he has played a key role in managing Sutton County’s water resources while working with the public to improve our knowledge of our aquifer.

Ross pioneered many important initiatives including the establishment of the SCUWCD electronic rainfall gauge network, which improved the understanding of recharge to the aquifer in drought years compared to above average years.

In addition, he facilitated an extensive collection of data in both the water quality and quantity monitoring networks, which advanced the District’s ability to ensure the safety and reliability of the resource so many in Sutton County depend on. Dr. Ross was an advocate for the District to provide services to Sutton County citizens like free water quality tests in the District’s in-house laboratory.

Ross’s service over the years extends past the Sutton County lines, as he has worked with neighboring conservation districts to assist in shaping water-related legislation.

His work with other districts, allowed improvement to water management strategies extending over the Edwards-Trinity aquifer.

Moreover, Ross offered testimony on various water-related legislation that has influenced groundwater management polices throughout the State of Texas, especially during his time as Vice-President of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Conservation Districts.

“We are so thankful to have had Joe David for more than three decades on our Board of Directors, making a positive difference in the lives of Sutton County citizens by providing leadership to the District and all of Sutton County,” Meredith Allen, Operations Manager, said. “His contributions will continue to be appreciated for many years.”