The article below by Elena Tucker was published by The Boerne Star on Friday, May 24, 2019
On May 22, HB 1806 was voted through by the Texas Senate, clearing the way for the San Antonio Water System to sell 1,500 acre feet of water across county lines from Bexar into Kendall. Despite vigorous and organized opposition by local leaders – including Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District chairman Milan J. Michalec, who protested the bill before committee members in Austin – HB 1806 will reverse water management law established in 1993.
After its passage, Michalec spoke strongly against the new law and a legislative system “that allows a single legislator, acting on behalf of a single developer to proceed with their own agenda despite the objections of local citizens and their locally elected representatives.”
He was specifically referring to Senator Donna Campbell, whose bill originally allowed for the sale of up to 6,000 acre feet of water. Campbell later accepted an amendment proposed by Representative Kyle Biedermann, limiting SAWS water transfer to 1,500 acre feet.
That is the same amount needed by newly-established WCID No. 3 in order to supply water to a large new subdivision planned for the south side of Boerne.
Michalec said in response to the vote, “It has been an amazing experience spanning a two-year period. To think it all began with the creation of WCID No. 3 – the water district without a source of water.
“Reform is needed due to the proliferation of these water districts in the rural areas of the Texas Hill Country where their creation is a growing threat because of their effect on water quality and quantity, traffic safety, property rights, schools and taxation,” Michalec said.
CALL TO ACTION!
Please contact Governor Abbott and tell him to veto HB 1806 which goes against the Edwards Aquifer Authority’s long term goals.
Help us avoid a likely scenario where an out-of-county source of water, backed up by the export of water from the Edwards Aquifer beyond its legal boundaries, to this Kendall County subdivision, could dry up and create big problems.
Rationale: To be accurate, at issue is SAWS using their share of GBRA water from Canyon Reservoir, which is backed up/mixed up with Edwards water within their pipes. The use of the Edwards water is current prohibited and the proposed destination is outside of the SAWS CCN.
We have been advised that letters can be sent to an aide at this email address: Julie.Frank@gov.texas.gov
A call to the Governor’s hotline would also be useful.
The number is 512-463-2000 – Office of the Governor Main Switchboard (office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST).
Here’s the current status of House Bill (HB) 1806 and a way forward for anyone who wishes to have a say on this bad bill.
HB 1806 was sent to the Governor on the May 29. It awaits his action—do nothing and let it become law, sign it or veto it.
All of the information posted for the public can be viewed on the website of Texas Legislature Online. See: https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=HB1806
Depending on how the days after receiving it are counted, he has 10-20 days, not counting Sundays, to act, or not.
We believe this effort is definitely worthwhile as my sources tell me several very influential individuals have asked for his veto.