The Groundwater Management Area* 12 Board members looked a little surprised to see so many folks show up at their meeting in Milano on Monday. They are just now getting the picture that the dispute going on in GMA 12 affects all Texans.
The GMA 12 Board decided to send two filed petition/appeals up to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). (TWDB members here.) Independent Texans, Neighbors for Neighbors and the Lost Pines Sierra Club (among others) supports the petition/appeal filed by Environmental Stewardship. The other petition/appeal was filed by private water vendor, End Op, LLC. End Op, of course, wants to move forward with a controversial project recently approved by the TWDB, to get state backed bonds for a 100-mile $400MM water pipeline (we call it the Trans-Texas Water Highway) project to take large amounts of GMA 12 groundwater to the San Antonio area. End Op’s plan is receiving stiff opposition from communities sitting on top of the water, including some local developers.
Though these are dueling petition/appeals, ES and End Op have both argued that the GMA 12 did not use the most up-to-date science in determining the “desired future conditions”, and therefore how much water can be pumped out of the area’s aquifer. ES claims the science shows it should be less pumping, End Op claims it should be more. They both agree the process was not transparent and did not adequately consider stakeholder input.
ACTION REQUEST! Take these three steps:
#1: Sign the petition/letter here.
Your petition/letter will be sent immediately to the officials at the Texas Water Development Board. (Anyone can send this letter, so feel free to send it to friends in other areas.)
#2: Come to a PLANNING and EDUCATIONAL meeting to be held in Lexington, Texas on Saturday, August 27th from 2 to 5 pm 537 Third St.. (We rented a space from the Lexington Senior Citizen’s Center right there on the downtown square especially for this meeting).
#3: f you cannot make the planning meeting, please let us know if you an help set up a meeting for us to come to your county.
There is a 60-day period now underway for the GMA 12 Board to prepare a response to be sent up to TWDB with the petition/appeals. At some point there will be a required hearing in the GMA 12 area — Bastrop, Brazos, Burleson, Falls, Fayette, Freestone, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Navarro, Robertson, and Williamson counties. We will let you know.
* What’s a GMA? The 16 GMAs around the state are designated by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) for the purpose of managing groundwater resources. The result is that state water law has moved the determination of how much groundwater can be pumped away from local control into “joint planning” by GMAs, with TWDB having the final say—groups of groundwater conservation districts must now jointly describe what their aquifers will look like in 2060, the so-called “desired future conditions.” TWDB then uses the DFC to set the amount of groundwater that each district must allow to be pumped, for local use as well as for export out of the district. The bottom line is that desired future conditions and the water availability numbers are being driven by the demand for water rather than by the amounts the aquifers can safely yield without permanent harm.