News

Flood and disaster relief for Hays and Blanco May 28, 2015 13:18
Some locations are subject to change as the situation develops.

If you know anyone who needs the information, please pass along.
Hays County   1) Hays County Food Bank
  The most needed items for disaster relief are high-protein canned meals with pop-top cans (ravioli, soups, spaghetti, tuna, salmon, chicken, beans, chili), single serving meals that do not require refrigeration or cooked/meals ready to eat, single serving snacks such as raisins, granola bars, and nuts, peanut butter, canned fruits/veggies...
Some locations are subject to change as the situation develops.

If you know anyone who needs the information, please pass along.

Hays County
 
1) Hays County Food Bank
 
The most needed items for disaster relief are high-protein canned meals with pop-top cans (ravioli, soups, spaghetti, tuna, salmon, chicken, beans, chili), single serving meals that do not require refrigeration or cooked/meals ready to eat, single serving snacks such as raisins, granola bars, and nuts, peanut butter, canned fruits/veggies.

Donate Food: Food donations are accepted until further notice at: 
  • 220 Herndon St, San Marcos
  • Cabela’s, 15570 S IH 35 Frontage Rd, Buda, TX 78610
  • Living Word Lutheran Church, 2315 Ranch Rd 967, Buda, TX 78610
  • Barton Middle School, 4950 Jack C. Hays Trail, Kyle, TX 78610
  • Broadway Bank, 320 E Hwy 290, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
  • Wallace Middle School, 1500 West Center, Kyle, TX 78640
  • Chapa Middle School, 3311 Dacy Lane, Kyle, TX 78640
  • Broadway Bank, 320 E Hwy 290, Dripping Springs, TX 78620
Donate Funds: Donate online NOW. Checks can be mailed to Hays County Food Bank, 220 Herndon Street, San Marcos, TX 78666

2) Legal Aid Hotline for Disaster Victims through Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
1-866-757-1570
3) Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer Centers are open San Marcos and Wimberley,

Wimberley Volunteer Reception Service:
Cypress Creek Church, 211 Stillwater, 8 a.m.-  5 p.m.

SM Volunteer Center (512.753.2320):
San Marcos Plaza Park, 206 C.M.Allen Parkway, 8 a.m. - 5 pm
Coordinated by City of San Marcos, Hays County, and AmeriCorps

The City and County have hundreds of people and organizations actively volunteering—we ask them to coordinate through our Volunteer Reception Centers so that their efforts may be as effective as possible. City, County and AmeriCorps are coordinating volunteers and organizations.

4) Call Center
A Call Center has been set up in San Marcos for county-wide, disaster-related questions at 512-754-2275

5) Large donations: If you have equipment or large donations, they can be delivered to:
Old Springtown Mall between 8-5 pm.
200 Springtown Way
San Marcos, TX 78666

6) More INFO
sanmarcostx.gov/smtxflood           
facebook.com/cityofsanmarcos
twitter.com/cityofsanmarcos
haysinformed.com
servesanmarcos.com

 


Blanco County

1) Donations: please contact Connie Barron at Blanco City Hall at (830) 833-4525

2) The Blanco County Emergency Management Facebook page will be updated regularly by the Blanco County Emergency Management team:

https://www.facebook.com/BlancoCountyOEM

3) If you have any questions regarding the flooding incident, have information to share, or would like to help, please send an email to: blancoflood@nbcems.org.

4) Additional resources are as follows:

www.CityofBlanco.com
Blanco County Relief Facebook page 
The City of Blanco Facebook page
The County of Blanco 


Please go to the Blanco City Hall and register as a volunteer, find where to take donations and/or offer services.

The Blanco County Sheriff's Office is (830) 868-7104
 
Posted: May 28, 2015 13:18   Go to blog
Hays County officials testing well water samplesMay 28, 2015 13:13
 KVUE 4:58 p.m. CDT May 27, 2015

 SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Individuals wishing to test their private well water after recent flooding can obtain a sample container and directions on sampling water from the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center in San Marcos.
Residents can bring samples back with fees and the sample will be tested for coliform within 24 to 48 hours.



Click on the links below for detailed information...
 KVUE 4:58 p.m. CDT May 27, 2015

 SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Individuals wishing to test their private well water after recent flooding can obtain a sample container and directions on sampling water from the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center in San Marcos.
Residents can bring samples back with fees and the sample will be tested for coliform within 24 to 48 hours.



Click on the links below for detailed information.

How to collect water samples:

How to disinfect your well:

Individuals can call the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center in the Aquatic Biology building, on Sessoms Drive, across from Salt Grass Steak House in San Marcos.  

They can obtain a sample container and directions to sample.  

They will bring their sample back with the appropriate fee and the sample will be tested for coliform within 24-48 hours.

The phone number is 512-245-2329.

Posted: May 28, 2015 13:13   Go to blog
Obama pledges federal help for Texas flood victims May 27, 2015 17:30
Photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images President Obama pledged federal help Tuesday for search and rescue efforts associated with the extreme flooding in Texas.

"I will anticipate that there will be some significant requests made to Washington," Obama said after speaking with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. "My pledge to him is that we will expedite those requests."

Obama noted that are Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel already on the ground in Texas, and they will work with state authorities.

"I assured Gov...
Photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images
 President Obama pledged federal help Tuesday for search and rescue efforts associated with the extreme flooding in Texas.

"I will anticipate that there will be some significant requests made to Washington," Obama said after speaking with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. "My pledge to him is that we will expedite those requests."

Obama noted that are Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel already on the ground in Texas, and they will work with state authorities.

"I assured Gov. Abbott that he could count on the help of the federal government," Obama said.
Posted: May 27, 2015 17:30   Go to blog
Texas Flash Floods: 'This is the Worst Thing I've Ever Seen' May 27, 2015 17:17
Tue, May 26
The small town of Wimberley, Texas is no stranger to flash floods, but even trees that stood through centuries were no match for this latest storm.
Click below to see the video from the NBC Nightly News

http://www.nbcnews...

Tue, May 26

The small town of Wimberley, Texas is no stranger to flash floods, but even trees that stood through centuries were no match for this latest storm.

Click below to see the video from the NBC Nightly News

http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/texas-flash-floods---this-is-the-worst-thing-i-ve-ever-seen--451932739569 

Posted: May 27, 2015 17:17   Go to blog
At Least 19 Die After Storms in Texas and OklahomaMay 27, 2015 17:17
By Erin McClam and Elisha Fieldstadt
Click here for the original story and videos

 
 A third body was found near the Blanco River in Texas Tuesday, bringing the death toll in that state and in Oklahoma to at least 19 after weekend storms dumped rain on the region and caused devastating floods...


A third body was found near the Blanco River in Texas Tuesday, bringing the death toll in that state and in Oklahoma to at least 19 after weekend storms dumped rain on the region and caused devastating floods.

Fourteen people are missing in Texas, including eight members of two families that were staying in a vacation home that was swept away by a tsunami-like "wall of water" that roared down the Blanco River in Wimberley over the weekend following a wave of torrential rain, Hays County Commissioner Will Conley said.

The National Weather Service said that more rain could be on the way for hard-hit parts of Texas, with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms for the Houston area through 1 a.m. Wednesday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the communities that have been affected by some of these devastating, record-breaking floods," President Barack Obama said Tuesday. Obama pledged federal assistance to the region.

Search-and-rescue operations were continuing, on land and from air, across a landscape where centuries-old trees had been ripped away by the 44-foot storm surge. "It looks like a savannah," Conley said.

At least 12 people died in Texas, authorities said, including a 14-year-old boy in Desoto who was found in a storm drain, and Alyssa Ramirez, an 18-year-old homecoming queen whose car was swept off the road as she returned home from prom in Devine on Sunday, authorities said.

Four of the deaths in Texas were in Houston, the city's government said in a statement. One of the dead is believed to have been one of three people who are missing after being swept away when a boat capsized during a rescue effort, but that had not been confirmed by Tuesday night.

Texas official: Search and rescue in effect

By Tuesday afternoon three bodies have been found near the Blanco River in Hays and nearby Caldwell counties, which flooded over the weekend and swept away the home. Authorities said identification is pending, and described them as two men and one woman.

The missing in Hays County range from 4 to 81 years old, and were last seen in the area of the Blanco River, the Hays County Sheriff's Office said. Earlier Tuesday 13 people were reported missing in Hays County, but two of those were found safe, bringing the number down to 11, authorities said.

There have been seven weather-related deaths in Oklahoma since Friday, including a Claremore firefighter who died during a water rescue, and a 33-year-old woman who died in a storm-related traffic crash in Tulsa.

A 48-year-old woman in Oklahoma was killed Monday after a tornado struck Bryan County, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said.

The floodwaters affected virtually every part of Houston and paralyzed some areas. Firefighters carried out more than 500 water rescues, most involving stranded motorists. At least 2,500 vehicles were abandoned by drivers seeking higher ground, officials said.

Texas Floods: Two Families Missing After Vacation Home Swept Away
     

"Given the magnitude and how quickly it happened, in such a short period of time, I've never seen this before," said Rick Flanagan, Houston's emergency management coordinator.
By Tuesday evening, all bayous and creeks except for a portion of the San Jacinto River returned to their banks after some areas of the Harris County was hit with up to 11 inches of rain, the Harris County Flood Control District said.

Power remained out for more than 25,000 customers in the Houston area by 8 p.m. Tuesday, down from a high of 88,000 outages early Tuesday morning, CenterPoint Energy said.
Seventy homes were destroyed in Hays County and another 1,400 properties were damaged. If not for a phone notification system, "God knows how many people we would have lost," Conley said.
In Houston, officials believe the number of severely damaged homes could reach 4,000.


There is the possibility of more showers for parts of southeast Texas, including Houston. Storms are expected to be scattered, but a cell could produce flash flooding in Houston if a storm forms over already-inundated areas, the NWS said.

Texas Officials: 44 Foot Wall of Water 'Destroyed Everything in its Path'

Houston Intercontinental Airport smashed its all-time record for most rainfall in one day on Monday — its 4.34 inches almost doubling the previous milestone set in 1946.
"The rain just kept coming, and coming, and coming," said Ashley Aivles, a 25-year-old call center worker who struggled to make it back to her home in a Houston suburb early Tuesday. 

All Houston MTERO rail and bus services were canceled until flood waters receded. Limited rail service resumed at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, and buses on major lines began running in the afternoon, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County said. 

Texas, Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas have been experiencing extreme drought conditions for the past five years. That left the soil "like concrete," which typically exacerbates flooding conditions, said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska. 

But the latest round of flooding in Texas and Oklahoma can be attributed to sustained rainfall, including the equivalent of 12 to 16 inches above normal falling in the past 30 days, Svoboda said.
"The soil is too full. It's oversaturated with water," he said. "There's been too much, too soon, after you've had so little for such a long period of time." 

— with Erik Ortiz and Jon Schuppe
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Posted: May 27, 2015 17:17   Go to blog
CALL THE TEXAS SENATE NOW! SUPPORT SENATOR CAMBELL'S LOCAL BILL TO PROTECT OUR WATERMay 19, 2015 12:26
Dear Hays County Neighbors, 

Thank you for your efforts to help move House Bill 3405 one step closer to the Governors desk and becoming law.  We need your help now to please write or call all 30 Senators and the Lt. Governor today (Tues. May 19th)!   As always please be respectful and brief as this is a very busy time for the Senators and their staffs.     As expected, Sen. Charles Perry forced unacceptable amendments to HB3405 on Monday in his committee.  The good news is that the bill was passed out of committee and is beyond his meddling...
Dear Hays County Neighbors, 

Thank you for your efforts to help move House Bill 3405 one step closer to the Governors desk and becoming law.  We need your help now to please write or call all 30 Senators and the Lt. Governor today (Tues. May 19th)!  
As always please be respectful and brief as this is a very busy time for the Senators and their staffs.  
  
 As expected, Sen. Charles Perry forced unacceptable amendments to HB3405 on Monday in his committee.  The good news is that the bill was passed out of committee and is beyond his meddling.  Now Senator Campbell needs your support so she can fix the bill before it is voted on by the whole Senate.  

The message tomorrow should be something like the following in your own words:

"I am a citizen of Hays County.  I support my senator, Donna Campbell, and her efforts to pass HB 3405 and SB1440 to protect my private property rights to my groundwater.  These bills deal with a local issue and I'm asking Sen. ________ to support Sen. Campbell's efforts to protect Hays County's interests."

There is really no reason to try to go into explanations or strategies that the other senators won't understand.  The message is simple.  Support Donna Campbell on a local issue.  That should be enough to get her the votes she needs to fix the bills. 
 
We are asking you to call or write all 30 Texas senators and the Lt. Governor:





Phone Email Twitter
Lt. Governor 


Dan Patrick 512-463-1001 dan.patrick@senate.state.tx.us; logan@danpatrick.org @DanPatrick




Senators:
Brian Birdwell 512-463-0122 brian.birdwell@senate.state.tx.us; brian@brianbirdwell.net   @SenatorBirdwell

512-463-0110 konni.burton@senate.state.tx.us @KonniBurton
Konni Burton
Brandon Creighton 512-463-0104 brandon.creighton@senate.state.tx.us @SenCreighton
Rodney Ellis 512-463-0113 rodney.ellis@senate.state.tx.us @rodneyellis
Kevin Eltife 512-463-0101 kevin.eltife@senate.state.tx.us
Craig Estes 512-463-0130 craig.estes@senate.state.tx.us @EstesForTexas
Troy Fraser 512-463-0124 troy.fraser@senate.state.tx.us
Sylvia Garcia 512-463-0106 sylvia.garcia@senate.state.tx.us @SenatorSylvia
Bob Hall 512-463-0102 bob.hall@senate.state.tx.us
Kelly Hancock 512-463-0109 kelly.hancock@senate.state.tx.us @KHancock4TX
Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa 512-463-0120 juan.hinojosa@senate.state.tx.us @TxChuy
Don Huffines 512-463-0116 don.huffines@senate.state.tx.us @DonHuffines
Joan Huffman 512-463-0117 joan.huffman@senate.state.tx.us @joanhuffman
Lois Kolkhorst 512-463-0118 lois.kolkhorst@senate.state.tx.us @loiskolkhorst
Eddie Lucio, Jr. 512-463-0127 eddie.lucio@senate.state.tx.us @SenatorLucio
Jose Menendez 512-463-0126 jose.menendez@senate.state.tx.us
Jane Nelson 512-463-0112 jane.nelson@senate.state.tx.us @SenJaneNelson
Robert Nichols 512-463-0103 robert.nichols@senate.state.tx.us
Jose Rodriguez 512-463-0129 jose.rodriguez@senate.state.tx.us @Josefortexas
Charles Schwertner 512-463-0105 charles.schwertner@senate.state.tx.us @DrSchwertner
Kel Seliger 512-463-0131 kel.seliger@senate.state.tx.us @kseliger
Larry Taylor 512-463-0111 larry.taylor@senate.state.tx.us @Taylor4Senate
Van Taylor 512-463-0108 van.taylor@senate.state.tx.us @VanTaylorTX
Carlos Uresti 512-463-0119 carlos.uresti@senate.state.tx.us @CarlosUresti
Kirk Watson 512-463-0114 kirk.watson@senate.state.tx.us @KirkPWatson
Royce West 512-463-0123 royce.west@senate.state.tx.us @SenRoyceWest
John Whitmire 512-463-0115 john.whitmire@senate.state.tx.us @whitemire_john
Judith Zaffirini 512-463-0121 judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us @JudithZaffirini



PLEASE CALL OR SEND EMAILS THIS WEEK!  and Representative Jason Issac jason.isaac@house.state.tx.us for their leadership and cooperation to reconcile HB 3405 and SB 1440. This local legislation needs to ensure there will be no grandfathering and that the final bill will provide the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District with the necessary authority to protect your private property rights, groundwater wells and local springs that feed our creeks and rivers.

Many Thanks!


























































































































Posted: May 19, 2015 12:26   Go to blog
Conservation District preps for annexationMay 18, 2015 13:41
  The Region Monday, May 18, 2015 by Courtney Griffin

With two major bills pending in Texas’ legislative session, officials with the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District discussed a potentially rushed timeline at their regular meeting Thursday.
In March, legislators put forward House Bill 3405 and Senate Bill 1440 to address Houston-based water supplier Electro Purification’s plans to pump 5 million gallons of water per day from the Trinity Aquifer...
  The Region Monday, May 18, 2015 by Courtney Griffin


With two major bills pending in Texas’ legislative session, officials with the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District discussed a potentially rushed timeline at their regular meeting Thursday.

In March, legislators put forward House Bill 3405 and Senate Bill 1440 to address Houston-based water supplier Electro Purification’s plans to pump 5 million gallons of water per day from the Trinity Aquifer.

The company is set to drill in an unregulated area within Hays County, which has nearby residents wondering how the EP well project will affect their water supplies.
 
“We’re trying to balance what’s in front of us regarding annexation and the prospect of how quickly that could be effective,” John Dupnik, BSEACD’s general manager, told district directors. “We’re trying to balance being prepared for that without doing so much that we’ve wasted a lot of work, in case it doesn’t happen.”

Between the staffing plan and the potential uptick in workloads that may take place if the annexation becomes a reality, Board President Mary Stone said directors would be willing to meet on a weekly basis to ensure the process runs smoothly.

“I don’t know, with all those decisions, if we can wait two or three weeks sometimes,” Stone said. “I don’t think we want board meetings to delay things.”

Dupnik said if the conservation district annexes the land, EP’s current proposed drilling capacity — a total of 37.1 million gallons a day from its seven wells — would have to undergo the district’s permitting process, which could vastly redefine the allowed pumping.
BSEACD was chosen over the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District because of its greater regulatory powers permitted by law, Dupnik said.

In addition to the unregulated area that encapsulates some of Hays County and the City of San Marcos, however, the two bills put an additional portion of Travis County under BSEACD’s jurisdiction.

The second unregulated area is just south of the Colorado River, between Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 183, in the area where Riverside Drive and Oltorf Street are located.
Groundwater there is mainly brackish, which is why the area has remained largely undeveloped, Dupnik said.

“Here’s why we want to annex it: If someone was to put a big well right along (the east side of the current I-35 border),” Dupnik said, pointing to a spot near the intersection of South Congress and I-35, “they can pull all the fresh water (from the other side).”

Barton Springs is vulnerable to similar stunts if the area remains unregulated, he said. Advances in salinization technology have increased risks to the aquifer as well.

The two annexed areas would increase BSEACD’s jurisdiction by about 200 square miles. The annexation is expected to cost anywhere from $560,000 to $813,000 initially, including the cost of hiring another two full-time employees. After the startup period, the change would likely cost less than $300,000 to maintain. But BSEACD is looking at possibly sharing costs with affected counties, Dupnik said.

Directors also discussed the need to find two additional representatives for the new areas, a requirement of the bills. It would increase board membership from five to seven directors.
“It might not be a bad idea to start getting the word out, start thinking about folks out here that might be good temporary appointments,” Dupnik said to directors.
BSEACD is also trying to inform affected residents about a crucial time window, if the bills become law.

Existing well owners must apply for a temporary permit with BSEACD within 90 days after the law goes into effect to ensure that they can keep pumping. The district anticipates that an estimated 30 well owners will be affected. It will not tax any annexed areas.

SB 1440, proposed by state Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), passed out of committee May 6 but has yet to be placed on the Senate’s calendar for discussion.
HB 3405, proposed by state Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs), passed out of the House May 8 and has been received by the Senate.

Both bills must be read on the Senate floor for a third time by May 27.

Ed McCarthy, a lawyer with EP, told the Austin Monitor that the company “has said this whole time that they are not opposed to being in a district. With some of the legislation, the problem has been EP wasn’t allowed to come to the table and talk about the legislation. It was only about a month ago … that EP was allowed to voice some concerns.”

BartonSprings MainSpring” by Brad606 at en.wikipediaLicensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Posted: May 18, 2015 13:41   Go to blog
Still buying tickets on the EP Titanic | San Marcos RecordMay 18, 2015 10:32
Still buying tickets on the EP Titanic Sun, 05/17/2015 - 6:31am Anita Miller In case you have been out of the country this year and missed out on one of the most inglorious launches in recent history, Houston-based corporation Electro Purification still wants to pump more than five million gallons of water each day from the Trinity Aquifer in Central Hays County.  Their contracts will pipe this water east to Buda, Goforth Water SUD and the private Anthem development near Mountain City.  Not since declaring the Titanic unsinkable has there been such an expensive and ill-conceived concept...

Still buying tickets on the EP Titanic

Posted: May 18, 2015 10:32   Go to blog
SB 2075 to strip the power of eminent domain from the Needmore Ranch Municipal Utility District (MUD).May 18, 2015 10:23
Dear GEAA members and friends,

Yesterday, I received news that Senator Donna Campbell has permission to introduce SB 2075 to strip the power of eminent domain from the Needmore Ranch Municipal Utility District (MUD).

The Needmore Ranch MUD has been a tremendously controversial development planned to add thousands of new homes in Wimberley Valley in Hays County, one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. According to this report in the Texas Observer, “Between 1980 and 2012, Hays county’s population more than quadrupled, from 41,000 to 169,000...
Dear GEAA members and friends,

Yesterday, I received news that Senator Donna Campbell has permission to introduce SB 2075 to strip the power of eminent domain from the Needmore Ranch Municipal Utility District (MUD).

The Needmore Ranch MUD has been a tremendously controversial development planned to add thousands of new homes in Wimberley Valley in Hays County, one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. According to this report in the Texas Observer, “Between 1980 and 2012, Hays county’s population more than quadrupled, from 41,000 to 169,000. The mostly rural portion of the county west of I-35 could triple again by 2060, according to population estimates.  A 2011 report on water and wastewater commissioned by Hays County states flatly: “The ambience and sustainable picture desired by many in western Hays County is likely only achievable if growth is somehow significantly limited or is channeled into certain development areas.”  In other words, limits on and patterns of development should be determined by water.

According to the legislation that set up this MUD, the Needmore MUD would be able to condemn land only for the “purpose of importing surface water into the district.”
 
While Senator Campbell and Representative Isaac filed the legislation in 2013 that originally created the Needmore Ranch MUD, we are gratified to learn that Senator Campbell has been persuaded that the powers granted, in this case eminent domain, are too broad - empowering the MUD to take actions that might not be in the best interests of the community and neighboring landowners.
 
Here is her bill in its entirety:
 
We have seen similar problems with MUDs being played out over and over.  MUD’s create huge problems in the Hill Country because they are completely developer-driven.  The structure by which MUD’s are created for developers leaves the community with several different financial burdens.  Developers are constantly seeking different ways to lower their investment.  A common method for developers is to build MUD’s and Water Control Improvement Districts (WCID’s) using old and less efficient sewage treatment technology in order to lower the cost of the development.  In the case of the poorly built districts, the community is then left with the financial burden to operate and maintain the cheap, less efficient sewage infrastructure created by the developer.  GEAA is very concerned about the negative impact to our ground water from poorly designed sewage infrastructure. Over the years we have joined with groups in Comal, Hays, Bexar, and Medina counties to contest permits for substandard sewage infrastructure that would impact the Edwards Aquifer.
 
Another reason why developer-driven MUD’s and WCID’s present a problem to the Texas Hill Country is the sheer size of the communities that are being developed.  Many of these are high density developments located in environmentally sensitive areas.  New MUDs will add tens of thousands of new water connections in areas already having problems with water availability.  We are aware of legislation to create at least five new MUDs in the Hill Country this session. 

GEAA is requesting an interim hearing on the powers granted by the legislature to Municipal Utility Districts.  Please join us by contacting your State Representatives, Senators, and Speaker Joe Straus (joe.straus@speaker.state.tx.us) to request an interim hearing on the powers granted to Municipal Utility Districts.
 
The time to act on this is now.
 
Thank you,

Annalisa Peace
Executive Director
Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance
Check out GEAA’s Legislative Agenda for the 84th session and a list of the bills we support and oppose.
You can always keep up with interesting water news on GEAA's Face Book page
and, you can donate to GEAA on line or mail contributions to support GEAA to PO Box 15618, San Antonio, Texas 78212

Posted: May 18, 2015 10:23   Go to blog
If You Think the Water Crisis Can't Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained--NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ArticleMay 18, 2015 10:19
We're pumping irreplaceable groundwater to counter the drought. When it's gone, the real crisis begins.
In ten years, the Colorado River Basin has lost the equivalent of two Lake Meads,the largest reservoir in the U.S., pictured here at dusk with Las Vegas in the background.
PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER ESSICK, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 
Aquifers provide us freshwater that makes up for surface water lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs...
We're pumping irreplaceable groundwater to counter the drought. When it's gone, the real crisis begins.
In ten years, the Colorado River Basin has lost the equivalent of two Lake Meads,
the largest reservoir in the U.S., pictured here at dusk with Las Vegas in the background.

Aquifers provide us freshwater that makes up for surface water lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. We are drawing down these hidden, mostly nonrenewable groundwater supplies at unsustainable rates in the western United States and in several dry regions globally, threatening our future.

We are at our best when we can see a threat or challenge ahead. If flood waters are rising, an enemy is rushing at us, or a highway exit appears just ahead of a traffic jam, we see the looming crisis and respond.


We are not as adept when threats—or threatened resources—are invisible. Some of us have trouble realizing why invisible carbon emissions are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere and warming the planet. Because the surface of the sea is all we see, it's difficult to understand that we already have taken most of the large fish from the ocean, diminishing a major source of food. Neither of these crises are visible—they are largely out of sight, out of mind—so it's difficult to get excited and respond. Disappearing groundwater is another out-of-sight crisis.
Groundwater comes from aquifers—spongelike gravel and sand-filled underground reservoirs—and we see this water only when it flows from springs and wells. In the United States we rely on this hidden—and shrinking—water supply to meet half our needs, and as drought shrinks surface water in lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, we rely on groundwater from aquifers even more. Some shallow aquifers recharge from surface water, but deeper aquifers contain ancient water locked in the earth by changes in geology thousands or millions of years ago. These aquifers typically cannot recharge, and once this "fossil" water is gone, it is gone forever—potentially changing how and where we can live and grow food, among other things.

California's Central Valley has seen a dramatic rise in well-drilling
this year to compensate for surface water lost from the drought.



A severe drought in California—now approaching four years long—has depleted snowpacks, rivers, and lakes, and groundwater use has soared to make up the shortfall. A new report from Stanford University says that nearly 60 percent of the state's water needs are now met by groundwater, up from 40 percent in years when normal amounts of rain and snow fall.
Relying on groundwater to make up for shrinking surface water supplies comes at a rising price, and this hidden water found in California's Central Valley aquifers is the focus of what amounts to a new gold rush. Well-drillers are working overtime, and as Brian Clark Howard reported here last week, farmers and homeowners short of water now must wait in line more than a year for their new wells.
In most years, aquifers recharge as rainfall and streamflow seep into unpaved ground. But during drought the water table—the depth at which water is found below the surface—drops as water is pumped from the ground faster than it can recharge. As Howard reported, Central Valley wells that used to strike water at 500 feet deep must now be drilled down 1,000 feet or more, at a cost of more than $300,000 for a single well. And as aquifers are depleted, the land also begins to subside, or sink.


Unlike those in other western states, Californians know little about their groundwater supply because well-drilling records are kept secret from public view, and there is no statewide policy limiting groundwater use. State legislators are contemplating a measure that would regulate and limit groundwater use, but even if it passes, compliance plans wouldn't be required until 2020, and full restrictions wouldn't kick in until 2040. California property owners now can pump as much water as they want from under the ground they own.
California's Central Valley isn't the only place in the U.S. where groundwater supplies are declining. Aquifers in the Colorado River Basin and the southern Great Plains also suffer severe depletion. Studies show that about half the groundwater depletion nationwide is from irrigation. Agriculture is the leading use of water in the U.S. and around the world, and globally irrigated farming takes more than 60 percent of the available freshwater.
The Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to 40 million people in seven states, is losing water at dramatic rates, and most of the losses are groundwater. A new satellite study from the University of California, Irvine and NASA indicates that the Colorado River Basin lost 65 cubic kilometers (15.6 cubic miles) of water from 2004 to 2013. That is twice the amount stored in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S., which can hold two years' worth of Colorado River runoff. As Jay Famiglietti, a NASA scientist and study co-author wrote here, groundwater made up 75 percent of the water lost in the basin.
Farther east, the Ogallala Aquifer under the High Plains is also shrinking because of too much demand. When the Dust Bowl overtook the Great Plains in the 1930s, the Ogallala had been discovered only recently, and for the most part it wasn't tapped then to help ease the drought. But large-scale center-pivot irrigation transformed crop production on the plains after World War II, allowing water-thirsty crops like corn and alfalfa for feeding livestock.
But severe drought threatens the southern plains again, and water is being unsustainably drawn from the southern Ogallala Aquifer. The northern Ogallala, found near the surface in Nebraska, is replenished by surface runoff from rivers originating in the Rockies. But farther south in Texas and New Mexico, water lies hundreds of feet below the surface, and does not recharge. Sandra Postel wrote here last month that the Ogallala Aquifer water level in the Texas Panhandle has dropped by up to 15 feet in the past decade, with more than three-quarters of that loss having come during the drought of the past five years. A recent Kansas State University study said that if farmers in Kansas keep irrigating at present rates, 69 percent of the Ogallala Aquifer will be gone in 50 years.

The Ogallala Aquifer supplies the water for center-pivot irrigation on farms in western Kansas.



This coincides with a nationwide trend of groundwater declines. A 2013 study of 40 aquifers across the United States by the U.S. Geological Survey reports that the rate of groundwater depletion has increased dramatically since 2000, with almost 25 cubic kilometers (six cubic miles) of water per year being pumped from the ground. This compares to about 9.2 cubic kilometers (1.48 cubic miles) average withdrawal per year from 1900 to 2008.
Scarce groundwater supplies also are being used for energy. A recent study from CERES, an organization that advocates sustainable business practices, indicated that competition for water by hydraulic fracturing—a water-intensive drilling process for oil and gas known as "fracking"—already occurs in dry regions of the United States. The February report said that more than half of all fracking wells in the U.S. are being drilled in regions experiencing drought, and that more than one-third of the wells are in regions suffering groundwater depletion.
Satellites have allowed us to more accurately understand groundwater supplies and depletion rates. Until these satellites, called GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), were launched by NASA, we couldn't see or measure this developing invisible crisis. GRACE has given us an improved picture of groundwater worldwide, revealing how supplies are shrinking in several regions vulnerable to drought: northern India, the North China Plain, and the Middle East among them.
As drought worsens groundwater depletion, water supplies for people and farming shrink, and this scarcity can set the table for social unrest. Saudi Arabia, which a few decades ago began pumping deep underground aquifers to grow wheat in the desert, has since abandoned the plan, in order to conserve what groundwater supplies remain, relying instead on imported wheat to feed the people of this arid land.
Managing and conserving groundwater supplies becomes an urgent challenge as drought depletes our surface supplies. Because groundwater is a common resource—available to anyone with well—drilling equipment-cooperation and collaboration will be crucial as we try to protect this shrinking line of defense against a future of water scarcity.
Dennis Dimick grew up on a hilly Oregon farm named Spring Hill, where groundwater from a spring provided his family's—and the farm's—water supply. He is National Geographic's Executive Editor for the Environment. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and flickr.

Further Reading:

Change the Course
The National Geographic Society supports a project to restore freshwater ecosystems. You can find out more about Change the Course here, and how by pledging to reduce your own water footprint you can restore 1,000 gallons of water to the Colorado River.


Posted: May 18, 2015 10:19   Go to blog
Your Calls and Emails Worked!!! HB 3405 was just referred to the Senate by Lt. Governor Patrick May 15, 2015 0:33
Thank you for your calls and emails today to Senator Perry and Lt. Governor Patrick!  Your effort has helped to move the bill.

The bill is being referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs - chaired by Senator Perry. House Bill 3405 is scheduled to be heard this MONDAY, May 18th. Keep your emails going to the entire committee.
Next Action- Ask the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs to pass the bill. 
Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee
Charles Perry (chair) - charles.perry@senate.state.tx...
Thank you for your calls and emails today to Senator Perry and Lt. Governor Patrick!  Your effort has helped to move the bill.

The bill is being referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs - chaired by Senator Perry. House Bill 3405 is scheduled to be heard this MONDAY, May 18th. Keep your emails going to the entire committee.

Next Action- Ask the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs to pass the bill. 

Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee


Judith Zaffirini (vice chair)- Judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us - (512) 463-0121

Brandon Creighton (member) - brandon.creighton@senate.state.tx.us - 512-463-0104


Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (member) - juan.hinojosa@senate.state.tx.us - 512-463-0120

Lois Kolkhorst (member) - lois.kolkhorst@senate.state.tx.us512-463-0118

Jose Roriguez (member) - jose.rodriguez@senate.state.tx.us512-463-0129




Posted: May 15, 2015 0:33   Go to blog
Summer is for Science! May 14, 2015 13:43
Summer Camp at the Science Mill! Register NOW!Registration ends Friday, May 29th!   SCI* CAMP

Round trip bus transportation with pick-up and drop-off in Burnet and Marble Falls is included in the SCI Camp fee.

Do you know someone who likes to solve mysteries? Are they up to the challenge of crisis response? Are they a creative force? Ever just ...

Summer Camp at the Science Mill! Register NOW!

Registration ends Friday, May 29th!
 
SCI* CAMP

Round trip bus transportation with pick-up and drop-off in Burnet and Marble Falls is included in the SCI Camp fee.

Do you know someone who likes to solve mysteries? Are they up to the challenge of crisis response? Are they a creative force? Ever just wonder how and why our brains work? How awesome is rocket science? In just one week, they’ll see what it’s like to be a …
 
• Forensic Scientist
• Aerospace Engineer
• Storm Tracker
• Chief Innovation Officer
• Brain Scientist

*Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Career Immersion


SCI Camp is sponsored in part by a grant from the KDK-Harman Foundation.
SHOOT FOR THE STARS!

Round trip bus transportation with pick-up and drop-off in Fredericksburg and Stonewall provided by the National Park Service is included in the camp fee.

Who will build the fastest, sleekest, most aerodynamic rocket this summer? Kids can shoot for the stars with us!
• Play with paper airplanes, balloon racers, and stomp rockets
• Watch a movie: Space Junk 3D
• Design, build, test and launch their own rocket!
• Culminating team and individual competitions
 
Offered in collaboration with SystemsGo and the National Park Service.

       
 
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW AND LEARN MORE ABOUT SUMMER CAMPS AT THE SCIENCE MILL!


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Posted: May 14, 2015 13:43   Go to blog
EP Challenged by Legislation and LawMay 14, 2015 13:41

 Electro Purification Challenged by  Legislation and Law  So where are we now on EP? 
The battle to stop Electro Purification from taking our Trinity Aquifer water to sell for future developments elsewhere is going strong. If it seems the initial shouting has died down, it's because most of the shouters are now too busy working on winning to do any yelling.
When the EP threat came to light last December, folks were justifiably frightened, but they were also galvanized into action...

 Electro Purification Challenged by 
Legislation and Law 
So where are we now on EP? 

The battle to stop Electro Purification from taking our Trinity Aquifer water to sell for future developments elsewhere is going strong. If it seems the initial shouting has died down, it's because most of the shouters are now too busy working on winning to do any yelling.

When the EP threat came to light last December, folks were justifiably frightened, but they were also galvanized into action. If EP is allowed to pump five million gallons of groundwater per day from fields near FM 3237 at FM 150 (the Hays City Store area), it will be a disaster for all of Western Hays County. Hydro-geologists say local wells could be drained by 200' to 300', resulting in the severe water-level drops for hundreds of private and commercial wells, with a devastating effect on thousands of families. Imagine the damage to property values and business all over our area as word spread: "Western Hays County has no groundwater."  

Defensive actions were begun immediately by countless individuals, elected officials and organizations. These efforts continue. Dozens of local groups and organizations passed resolutions against EP's plans, including the Republican and Democratic parties of Hays County, PEC, the Hays County Commissioners, CARD, churches, the cities of Wimberley, Woodcreek and others. More than 6,000 local residents signed petitions that were presented to Representative Jason Isaac and Senators Donna Campbell and Judith Zaffirini, as well as Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. Probably thousands of emails and letters have been sent to elected officials seeking help.

The current stage may seem quieter, but many people are working hard on the situation every day.   

LEGISLATION

Numerous bills have been filed by Isaac, Campbell, Zaffirini and Representative Eddie Rodriguez. Some met early deaths but others are still very much in play and working their way through the complexities of the Texas Legislature. The writing and shepherding of these bills have been aided by much input from involved citizens, from civic and government leaders, from lawyers for the newly formed Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA) and lawyers for rancher Bill Johnson. The state of these bills could change at almost any time. Information about any bill's status is available at  www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/BillNumber.aspx   

HB 3405 and SB 1440 - These companion bills for the House (HB) and Senate (SB) authorize the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) to expand its regulatory coverage into the unprotected area of Hays County to manage Trinity Aquifer groundwater pumping. This would allow BSEACD to regulate the amount of water pumped from EP's wells. At this writing, HB 3405 has passed the House and SB 1440 is very much alive. Despite some compromises on SB 1440 forced by dubious opposition, both bills have strong potential to keep EP from taking destructive quantities of our water.

HB 3407 and SB 1634 - These companion bills basically say that Goforth Special Utility District - the biggest contracted buyer of the proposed EP pumping (3 million gallons a day) - cannot exercise its power of eminent domain to condemn property outside of its service area for a project it doesn't own and operate; in other words, to facilitate a pipeline for EP. If passed, the bill would make it very difficult for EP to find a viable way to transport the massive quantities of water it hopes to pump from our aquifer.

At the moment, the prospects for the above bills appear promising, but EP is trying to undercut them.  

HB 4049 - Filed by Representative Isaac, this bill provides limited but desperately needed additional funding authorization for the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) since Hays County financial support will end September 30, 2015. The bill was passed by the House Natural Resources Committee but has not been scheduled for House vote. There is not yet a Senate companion bill. Bills to provide additional funding authorization for BSEACD are currently in negotiation with Representative Isaac and Senator Campbell.

LITIGATION

Lawsuit filed by TESPA - The newly formed Texas Edwards Springs Protection Association was created to challenge EP in several ways. The first TESPA lawsuit alleges HTGCD already has authority over the Trinity Aquifer throughout Hays County, including where the EP test wells have been drilled, and that those wells were drilled illegally and should be stopped. Notice has been given to the HTGCD and the matter has been referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) for a recommendation no later than June 2015. The TESPA lawsuit also challenges the antiquated Texas Rule of Capture, which allows unregulated groundwater pumping, as out of date and violating propertys owners' rights. See TESPAtexas.org.  
   
Multi-faceted Strategy to Address Concerns about EP - Lawyers and lobbyists for Bill Johnson, owner of two ranches along the proposed pipeline to deliver water from EP wells to Buda and Goforth, have been working on multiple strategies to insure that the EP/Goforth/Buda water project is regulated and that impacts to the Hays County community are limited. Extensive work in the legislature by the Johnson team and others has recently resulted in HB 3405 being passed out of the House and SB 1440 being voted out of committee. Work continues to improve those bills and keep them moving toward final passage. In addition, the team continues preparation to respond to expected condemnation efforts when Goforth (for EP) initiates right-of-way acquisition (using eminent domain) for the pipeline. They have also worked with legislators on HB 3407 and SB 1634, which would limit Goforth's eminent domain powers.

REMOVING EP BUYERS

Water offer to Buda - Buda, one of three EP water buyers, contracted with EP for one million gallons per day of groundwater to be pumped 13 miles from the EP well field, to compensate for an expected water shortfall beginning in 2017. The Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA) has offered Buda one million gallons per day to negate Buda's need for the EP groundwater. Buda has failed to accept the GBRA offer and is also arguing against HB 3405 and SB 1440. Their reasons are not clear to observers, since the GBRA water would be cheaper and better quality. Buda's anticipated water shortfall is based on future planned growth; it is particularly galling for long-established Western Hays County residents to see an attempt to take away their water for projected future residents. Currently, citizen efforts are underway to alert Buda citizens to the contradictory activity of its city council, in hopes the attention will force the council to acknowledge the GBRA's better deal.  

Anthem Annexation - The third contracted buyer of EP's water is the Anthem subdivision proposed near Mountain City. Currently city and county officials are actively working on a plan to move Anthem from the Mountain City (extraterritorial jurisdiction) to the Kyle ETJ. Kyle could supply water services to the subdivision. This plan appears to be supported by Clark Wilson of Clark Wilson Homes, Anthem's owner. There are various obstacles, but they appear solvable. Currently the ball seems to be in the court of Mountain City's city council.  

Several other strategies and actions to stop or hinder EP are underway or being planned, if needed.

You already know EP has spent a lot of money to spread misinformation, both to legislators and the public, some of it aimed mainly at convincing people we can't win, some of it aimed at legislators and other officials.

Legislators acknowledge that citizen interest and comment through emails, calls and letters can have significant impact, especially in correcting intentional misinformation presented to legislators. You are urged to continue to contact your state legislators, and ask them to support the critical legislation noted above. In the case of the authors of these bills, Senators Donna Campbell and Judith Zaffirini, and Representatives Jason Isaac and Eddie Rodriguez, thanks for their hard work on these bills would be helpful.  

Stay current with the situation at: saveourwells.org, TESPAtexas.org and hayscard.org  

Contact legislators at:

Senator Donna Campbell - donna.campbell@senate.state.tx.us  
State Senator Judith Zaffirini - judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us  

Representative Jason Isaac - jason.isaac@house.state.tx.us  
Representative Eddie Rodriguez - eddie.rodriguez@house.state.tx.us

- CARD Steering Committee


Posted: May 14, 2015 13:41   Go to blog
Isaac Passes Critical Water Legislation for Hays County May 14, 2015 13:38
Jason Isaac
State Representative
House District 45

For
Immediate Release: May 8, 2015
Contact: Chelsey McGee - (512) 463-0647

Rep.
Isaac Passes Critical Water Legislation for Hays County

AUSTIN, TX - Today,
the Texas House passed critical legislation
authored by State Representative
Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) that
expands the boundaries of the Barton
Springs Edwards Aquifer
Conservation District to cover a portion of the Trinity
Aquifer in
Hays County that is not currently within a groundwater
district.

Rep...
Jason Isaac
State Representative
House District 45

For
Immediate Release: May 8, 2015
Contact: Chelsey McGee - (512) 463-0647

Rep.
Isaac Passes Critical Water Legislation for Hays County

AUSTIN, TX - Today,
the Texas House passed critical legislation
authored by State Representative
Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) that
expands the boundaries of the Barton
Springs Edwards Aquifer
Conservation District to cover a portion of the Trinity
Aquifer in
Hays County that is not currently within a groundwater
district.

Rep. Isaac stated, “This is great news for residents of Blanco
and
Hays County and ensures necessary measures will be taken to protect
an
environmentally sensitive area of the Trinity Aquifer. An
overwhelming
number of the constituents I serve are excited about the progress
of
legislation to protect our groundwater. HB 3405 is now headed to
the
Senate.”

In 2014, Rep. Isaac became aware of possible white zones in
Hays
County. A white zone is a portion of an aquifer that is currently
not
within the boundaries of a groundwater district. In Hays County, there
is
a white zone just outside a priority groundwater management area
that follows
the same boundaries of the Edwards Aquifer Authority
(EAA). However, the EAA
does not protect the Trinity Aquifer that lies
beneath the Edwards.

“Final
passage of HB 3405 will ensure that the entirety of Hays County
has protections
in place over the Edwards and Trinity aquifers. This
protection will be
possible without additional property taxes, and
residential and agriculture
wells will be exempts from fees.
Furthermore, this protection will ensure that
your private property
will not be taken out from under you.”

Now that HB
3405 has passed the House, it’s now headed to the Senate
where co-sponsor State
Senator Donna Campbell will bring the
legislation up for a debate before it is
fully passed. Upon passage,
HB 3405 will go into effect on September 1, 2015,
or immediately upon
receiving a vote of two-thirds from each house.

Rep.
Isaac concluded, “We have a few more steps to go before full
passage, but we
are definitely moving in the right direction.”
Posted: May 14, 2015 13:38   Go to blog
Update: Proposed ILA & ETJ MapsMay 14, 2015 13:37
As many of you know there have been informal discussions going on regarding the water source of the Anthem Development, Electro Purification.  A PROPOSED solution is to have the City of Kyle take the area into their City Limits to provide Anthem water and waste water from the City of Kyle.  This is one of the options discussed and has been formally proposed now by the City of Kyle.  The Hays County Commissioner's Court has accepted it as is and so has the Kyle City Council...
As many of you know there have been informal discussions going on regarding the water source of the Anthem Development, Electro Purification.  A PROPOSED solution is to have the City of Kyle take the area into their City Limits to provide Anthem water and waste water from the City of Kyle.  This is one of the options discussed and has been formally proposed now by the City of Kyle.  The Hays County Commissioner's Court has accepted it as is and so has the Kyle City Council.  The Kyle City Council also voted to give their City Manager, Scott Sellers negotiation and execution power.  I suspect if there are any changes made to it then the Commissioner's Court would have to agree on it again.

The DRAFT proposal is on the Mountain City Agenda for Monday night @ 7pm.  You will find the proposed agreement and respective ETJ maps including the current ETJ, proposed ETJ and the proposed ETJ southern area on the Mountain City website.  You can also find our agenda on the website as well.  I am proposing that the City grant me authority to distribute an electronic survey to residents to get a good feeling of where everyone stands and what is important.  As always, there will be a public comment portion to our agenda at the beginning of the meeting and we invite you to participate in that if you wish.  We will discuss the agreement briefly in open meeting and if any action is taken it will be in the open meeting.  However, there will be portions that will discuss in Executive session as it is a contract that is in negotiation and our attorney will be present.

Please review the ILA and forward any comments to mountaincitytx@gmail.com if you are unable to attend the meeting.  Documents may be found at mountaincitytx.com > documents > Anthem Development. 


 
 
Thank you,
Tiffany Curnutt
Mayor
Posted: May 14, 2015 13:37   Go to blog
Measure California’s WaterMay 14, 2015 13:36
The Opinion Pages | Editorial Measure California’s Water By THE EDITORIAL BOARDMAY 8, 2015

California’s water board voted Tuesday to impose new rules that would reduce the state’s urban water use by 25 percent, as mandated by Gov. Jerry Brown at the beginning of April. By requiring towns and cities to cut back, the state expects to save about 1.3 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months. Rationing in urban areas will be tiered...

The Opinion Pages | Editorial

Measure California’s Water

Posted: May 14, 2015 13:36   Go to blog
Restoration Rangers 5/1 workday updateMay 08, 2015 15:10
Nine RRs showed up for the Workday and First Day the Park was officially opened for the Summer.
Beverly, Irene, Susan, Blaine, Robert M, Leigh, Jennifer, Christine and Tom were the brave Group….


Task One  - Invasive’s: Bastard Cabbage, Johnson Grass and Horehound along the new path. The whole Group.
Task Two - New Path from parking lot to trail. Beverly, Susan, Leigh and Tom.
Task Three - Walk the complete trail, weeding, picking up trash, etc.  The whole Group...
Nine RRs showed up for the Workday and First Day the Park was officially opened for the Summer.
Beverly, Irene, Susan, Blaine, Robert M, Leigh, Jennifer, Christine and Tom were the brave Group….


Task One  - Invasive’s: Bastard Cabbage, Johnson Grass and Horehound along the new path. The whole Group.

Task Two - New Path from parking lot to trail. Beverly, Susan, Leigh and Tom.

Task Three - Walk the complete trail, weeding, picking up trash, etc.  The whole Group.

Task Four - Weed around the nature center.  Jennifer, Christine, Bob, Irene.

Here are a few photos: 






Posted: May 08, 2015 15:10   Go to blog
TESPA Discussion of SB 1440May 08, 2015 12:17


            The TESPA legal team has reviewed SB 1440, and we feel the need to bring a problem with this bill to the attention of our members and friends.  There is a provision that will raise issues in the future if the bill is passed in its current form.  We do not send this out lightly.  Many people have worked very hard on this bill and we appreciate that effort.  However, when we formed TESPA, we promised to tell you the truth as we see it.  And here it is...


 
          The TESPA legal team has reviewed SB 1440, and we feel the need to bring a problem with this bill to the attention of our members and friends.  There is a provision that will raise issues in the future if the bill is passed in its current form.  We do not send this out lightly.  Many people have worked very hard on this bill and we appreciate that effort.  However, when we formed TESPA, we promised to tell you the truth as we see it.  And here it is.
SB 1440 places the area where the EP wells are proposed into the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. We support this.  However, SB 1440 has one section that gives us great concern.  It is section 8 that allows for temporary permits.  Our basic concern is that this section can be read to create a type of “grandfather” provision for the EP wells.
Under section 8(b), a temporary permit can be obtained by anyone who either has an operating well or a contract before the effective date of the statute.  EP currently has contracts for the sale of water so this section arguably would apply to them.  Section 8(c) then states that the district must issue the temporary permit without a hearing, meaning that EP would be granted a temporary permit. 
However, the most troubling provision to TESPA is section 8(d) which states the following with respect to temporary permits.  (We have marked Section 8(d) in blue, yellow and green to make it easier to follow the discussion below.) 

          (d)  The temporary permit issued under Subsection (c) of this
section does not confer any rights or privileges to the permit
holder other than those set forth in this section. After issuing
the temporary permit, the district shall process the permit
application for notice, hearing, and consideration for issuance of
a regular permit in the same manner that the district processes
other permit applications not described by this section. The
district, after notice and hearing, may issue an order reducing the
amount of groundwater that may be produced under a temporary permit
under this section only if the district determines that the amount
of groundwater being produced under the temporary permit is causing
a failure to achieve applicable adopted desired future conditions
for the aquifer.The district bears the burden of proof in
demonstrating that the amount of groundwater being produced under a
temporary permit is causing a failure to achieve applicable adopted
desired future conditions for the aquifer. A person who relies on
the temporary permit granted by this section to drill, operate, or
engage in other activities associated with a water well assumes the
risk that the district may grant or deny, wholly or partly, the
permit application when the district takes final action after
notice and hearing to issue a regular permit pursuant to the
application.

The above section marked in blue refers to the “regular” permit process in the context of “after issuing the temporary permit”.  This is confusing.  There is no reason to mention regular permits in this section other than to create an argument on behalf of EP that the temporary permit bears a direct relationship to the regular permit. 
 The follow-on section in yellow then refers to the District issuing notice and hearing – but for what permit?  This section can be read as referring to the regular permit after issuance of the temporary permit and not the temporary permit. This is a problem.  It is possible to read this yellow section as limiting the discretion of the District to deny the “regular” permit to only one ground and that is “only if the district determines that the amount of groundwater being produced under the temporary permit is causing a failure to achieve applicable adopted desired future conditions”.  Under this interpretation, no other rules of the district can be considered – only the impact on achievement of desired future conditions.
Under the normally applicable law, a permitting decision would be subject to several considerations pursuant to Water Code 36.113(d), including whether:

(1)  the application conforms to the requirements prescribed by this chapter and is accompanied by the prescribed fees;
(2)  the proposed use of water unreasonably affects existing groundwater and surface water resources or existing permit holders;
(3)  the proposed use of water is dedicated to any beneficial use;
(4)  the proposed use of water is consistent with the district's approved management plan;
(5)  if the well will be located in the Hill Country Priority G   roundwater Management Area, the proposed use of water from the well is wholly or partly to provide water to a pond, lake, or reservoir to enhance the appearance of the landscape;
(6)  the applicant has agreed to avoid waste and achieve water conservation; and
(7)  the applicant has agreed that reasonable diligence will be used to protect groundwater quality and that the applicant will follow well plugging guidelines at the time of well closure.
 
 As we read the provisions of Section 8(d), the considerations listed above could not be considered, including the effect on adjacent wells such as many of yours.  The only consideration allowed would be for interference with desired future conditions.
The section marked in green worsens the situation by transferring the burden of proof from the applicant to the district to prove that a temporary permit is violating the desired future conditions. This switching of burden of proof furthers supports the concern that this section gives special rights to EP. 
It is clear to us the EP is being given special treatment and special consideration in this bill.  These types of compromises happen in the legislature all the time.  However, TESPA wants its members and friends to know that this has happened to a bill that affects you and your wells.  If this bill is not amended to remove this language, you may well have to live with EP being allowed to exist under statute. 
As you all know, TESPA has sued to have EP wells brought under the jurisdiction of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.  We believe that they have jurisdiction under the Act that created the Hays Trinity District.  Our lawsuit is currently on file with the Hays County District Court, and we are just starting to work through our administrative law case.  It is always difficult to know if you are going to win a lawsuit, but we think we have a good case and a good chance. 
At some point, a statute such as SB 1440 that gives too much away may need to be dropped.  We have a viable lawsuit.  We have a viable strategy.  You might pass on to your state representative, state senator and other elected officials that the provisions of Section 8(d) marked in color above need to be removed from this bill or it should not be passed. 
Posted: May 08, 2015 12:17   Go to blog
Bastrop’s water fight roars onMay 06, 2015 11:58
10:55 a.m. Monday, May 4, 2015 | Filed in: Bastrop Jillian Beck Austin Community Newspapers Staff
Bastrop’s fight to secure a future water supply for its residents continues after a local groundwater district punted the decision on the city’s request to a state administrative judge.

At the end of an almost four-hour meeting on Wednesday, the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District granted a local ranch owner standing to challenge Bastrop’s request for 2,000 acre-feet of water per year in front of a judge...
Posted: May 06, 2015 11:58   Go to blog
from the Sierra Club re: Stop the Monstrous Water Gridzilla! May 06, 2015 11:51




The Texas House of Representatives will make a major decision this week that could lead to the same water mistakes California made decades ago.
  Tell your State Representative that the California approach of moving massive volumes of water around the state is not right for Texas – it’s too costly, too damaging to our environment, and ultimately doomed to fail...




The Texas House of Representatives will make a major decision this week that could lead to the same water mistakes California made decades ago.
 
House Bill 3298 is set to be debated on the Texas House floor Thursday, May 7 – the bill would direct the state’s water planning agency to evaluate how to establish and operate a state water conveyance network – a massive plumbing system of pipelines, pumping stations, reservoirs, and other infrastructure to move large amounts of water around Texas. Supporters call this a “water grid” – we call it a monstrous “water gridzilla” that will trample on rural areas, agricultural producers, our state’s finances, and fish & wildlife habitat!

What Texas really needs is to enhance efforts statewide to conserve water and use it more efficiently. That should be our first priority.

There may be more water movement and infrastructure in our future, but those things should be considered on a local and regional basis as needed – trying to rob one area’s water to move it around the state is only going to lead to more controversy and stalemate. Texas needs a balanced approach to water that serves the best interest of all Texans and the environment we love.

Send a strong message to your legislator that HB 3298 is the wrong approach to meeting our state’s water challenges!
Sincerely,

Ken Kramer

Water Resources Chair
Sierra Club
Lone Star Chapter 
Lone Star Chapter | PO Box 1931, Austin, Texas 78767 | P: 512.477.1729 | Contact Us



Sierra Club, 85 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94105 www.sierraclub.org
Posted: May 06, 2015 11:51   Go to blog
The Texas Tribune: State Supreme Court Punts on Major Water CaseMay 06, 2015 11:45

by Jim Malewitz
May 1, 2015 
photo by: Axel Gerdau
The Texas Supreme Court made news Friday for what it didn’t do. To the surprise of a bevy of water rights experts, the court turned away a high-profile case seeking clarity on murky groundwater laws.

As the state's lakes and rivers dwindle under drought and the demands of swelling population, competition for groundwater sources continues to intensify. How much water landowners can pump, and who has the authority to limit them, are proving crucial questions...

by

photo by: Axel Gerdau

The Texas Supreme Court made news Friday for what it didn’t do. To the surprise of a bevy of water rights experts, the court turned away a high-profile case seeking clarity on murky groundwater laws.

As the state's lakes and rivers dwindle under drought and the demands of swelling population, competition for groundwater sources continues to intensify. How much water landowners can pump, and who has the authority to limit them, are proving crucial questions.

Most observers had expected the state's highest civil court to weigh in on a recent lower court ruling that seems to tip the balance toward landowners when groundwater districts try to limit their water use.

But the justices declined to review the appeals court’s ruling in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Glenn and JoLynn Bragg – the first time a Texas appeals court found that groundwater regulation resulted in a violation of property rights under the Texas Constitution.

That case has fueled fiery debate about how Texas can balance groundwater protections and private property rights, and experts thought it ripe for the high court’s ruling.

“I think everyone’s surprised that the court did not hear this case,” said Steve Kosub, senior water resources counsel with the San Antonio Water System, which has backed the water authority in the decade-long legal battle. “This would have been an opportunity for the court."

The decision means Texans are no closer to addressing a conundrum that will only prompt more costly litigation in the coming years.

Texas owns the water in rivers, streams and lakes above ground and governs its allowance.
Then there’s groundwater.

More than a century ago, the Texas Supreme Court established the “rule of capture,” meaning that landowners can pump however much water they want from underneath their property regardless of whether it depletes their neighbor’s supply. Some 50 years later, lawmakers put groundwater regulation in the hands of local groundwater conservation districts, drawn across political boundaries rather than aquifer lines. Nearly 100 of these districts exist today, and all have different rules with little state oversight.

Not until 2012 did the Supreme Court finally rule in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day that regulations limiting groundwater- pumping rights could result in “taking” property rights under the Texas Constitution. And in 2013, the 4th Court of Appeals’ decided the Bragg case, finding that such a taking had occurred in Central Texas.

The Edwards Aquifer Authority is one of the largest and most powerful groundwater districts in the state. A federal judge ordered its creation in 1993, finding that unfettered pumping was threatening endangered species.

But Glenn and JoLynn Bragg had invested more than $2 million to grow pecans on 100 acres over the aquifer long before that. When the authority restricted the amount of water they could pump under that land, they sued, saying their property rights were violated.

The appeals court agreed. Justice Sandee Bryan Marion wrote that the restriction “forces the Braggs to purchase or lease what they had prior to the regulation — an unrestricted right to the use of the water beneath their land.” That outweighs even “the importance of protecting terrestrial and aquatic life, domestic and municipal water supplies, the operation of existing industries and the economic development of the state.”

(The court did send the case back to a lower court to recalculate the damages owed to the Braggs.)

Though water experts caution against applying the decision to other intensely fact-specific cases, the opinion – unchallenged for now – worries groundwater districts weighing new regulations to protect their supplies.


“It’s kind of now the law of the land,” said Greg Ellis, a lawyer who represents the Hays-Trinity Groundwater Conservation District and previously managed the Edwards authority, who took issue with several findings in the ruling. “Giving somebody their fair share should never result in a takings, and I’m disappointed that potentially could be seen as doing that.”

Broadly speaking, the court’s lack of action could bolster the position of landowners in future battles. That could include those involved in an emotional tug-of-war over Hays County water that has spilled into the Legislature: Houston-based Electro Purification wants to pump up to 5 million gallons of water a day from Trinity Aquifer wells and sell it to Austin's fast-growing Hill Country suburbs.

Critics fear that volume of pumping could cause nearby residents' wells to dry up. (The company says that won’t happen.), and Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, and Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, are pushing legislation to place the currently unregulated area Electro Purification wants to tap into the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Groundwater Conservation District to regulate the project.

The company and communities that support the project fear new regulations could jeopardize existing contracts, and some $2 million invested in test wells and other planning, bringing up the possibility that litigation could follow the bill’s passage – depending on how much water the district would dole out.

“The Bragg decision is extremely favorable to the Electro Purification position,” said Russ Johnson, a water lawyer based in Austin.

But to test those hypotheticals, the legislation – Senate Bill 1440 – must first gain approval, and it has yet to wriggle out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs.

In a statement Friday, Sen. Charles Perry, the committee’s chairman, said the bill as written “is not collectively agreed upon even within in Hays County because it deviates from standard water and property rights principles,” and that he plans to keep working with Isaac and Campbell to make it ready for a vote “very soon.”

Isaac has bristled at bill’s slow-moving pace and said the proposal remains his biggest priority.

“That’s what we’re trying to prevent – is people getting their water taken out from under them,” he said in an interview. “It needs to be within the managed available groundwater, and it needs to be protected.”

Disclosure: The San Antonio Water System is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. 
Posted: May 06, 2015 11:45   Go to blog
Texas Riparian & Stream Ecosystem Workshop – Cypress Creek WatershedApril 30, 2015 11:11
May 19, 2015
8 am - 4:00 pmVFW Hall
401 Jacobs Well Rd.
Wimberley, TX 78676 (map)Flyer
AgendaPlease RSVP now and share with others who may be interested. This workshop is being co-hosted by the City of Wimberley, the City of Woodcreek, and The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. The training will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones and the benefits and direct impacts from healthy riparian zones...

May 19, 2015
8 am - 4:00 pm

VFW Hall
401 Jacobs Well Rd.
Wimberley, TX 78676 (map)

Flyer
Agenda

Please RSVP now and share with others who may be interested.

 

This workshop is being co-hosted by the City of Wimberley, the City of Woodcreek, and The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. The training will focus on the nature and function of stream and riparian zones and the benefits and direct impacts from healthy riparian zones. The riparian education programs will cover an introduction to riparian principles, watershed processes, basic hydrology, erosion/deposition principles, and riparian vegetation, as well as potential causes of degradation and possible resulting impairment(s), and available local resources including technical assistance and tools that can be employed to prevent and/or resolve degradation.
These one-day trainings in watersheds across the state include both indoor classroom presentations and outdoor walks along the creek.
The goal is for participants to better understand and relate to riparian and watershed processes, the benefits that healthy riparian areas provide, and the tools that can be employed to prevent and/or resolve degradation and improve water quality. At the conclusion of the training, participants will receive a certificate of completion.
Continuing Education Units Available
·         Texas Department of Agriculture Pesticide Applicators License - 3 CEUs
·         Texas Water Resources Institute  - 1 CEU
·         Texas Nutrient Management Planning Specialists - 6 hours
·         Texas Board of Architectural Examiners “Acceptable for HSW credit”
·         The program may also be used for CEUs for Professional Engineers.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Trust is sponsoring a catered lunch for attendees and RSVP is required by May 14, 2015 at http://texasriparian.org/trainings/upcoming-training-locations/ . Please select if you would like the catered lunch or if you will bring your own.
Dress is casual and comfortable for the weather as we will be outside at the stream during the afternoon.
For more information or questions please contact Nikki Dictson at 979-458-5915 or n-dictson@tamu.edu.
Please join our listserv or like us on Facebook for more information on future programs!

Posted: April 30, 2015 11:11   Go to blog
Ed Cape SeminarApril 29, 2015 11:17
Ed Cape Water Resources Seminar Series...

Ed Cape Water Resources Seminar Series


The Role of the Texas Water Development Board and Drought in Shaping Texas Water Law

Carlos Rubinstein

Chairman of Texas Water Development Board
Austin, Texas


Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 11:00am Light Refreshments
 

Seminar at 12:00pm
 

Performing Arts Center Recital Hall*
 

Texas State University
 

Sponsored by the Thornton Family and the Aquatic Resources Program of Texas State University


*Parking provided at Edward Gary Street Parking Garage adjacent to Performing Arts Center

Posted: April 29, 2015 11:17   Go to blog
Protect Texans' Rights - Oppose House Bill 1865April 28, 2015 9:51
URGENT! ACT NOW!

Texans use an important process called “Contested Case Hearings” to protect private property interests, community and neighborhood health, and the environment.  Unfortunately, the contested case hearing process is under attack by big special interests who are trying to curtail Texans' rights through the passage of House Bill 1865, which would erode citizen
participation in environmental permitting on fence line projects such as new landfills, power plants, refineries, cement plants, or wastewater treatment plants...
URGENT! ACT NOW!

Texans use an important process called “Contested Case Hearings” to protect private property interests, community and neighborhood health, and the environment.  Unfortunately, the contested case hearing process is under attack by big special interests who are trying to curtail Texans' rights through the passage of House Bill 1865, which would erode citizen
participation in environmental permitting on fence line projects such as new landfills, power plants, refineries, cement plants, or wastewater treatment plants.


HB 1865 switches the "burden of proof" in administrative hearings on draft environmental permits from deep pocketed applicants to everyday citizens.  It is not the citizens who are asking the state for permission to potentially pollute the environment and impact a community — the applicant should have to prove its case.  Also, applicants often have a bevy of high-priced attorneys working in their corner — shifting the financial burden in administrative hearings to Texas citizens,
generally with less resources, stacks the deck deeply in favor of industry.

The bill also gives the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality almost unlimited discretion to decide who is an "affected person" and can have a Contested Case Hearing.  In fact, the bill states TCEQ can use the draft permit as a basis for denying affected person status -- effectively undermining the entire purpose of holding administrative hearings on environmental projects.

It is critically important that your House member hear your opposition to this bill.  Click on the "Act Now" button below to take action.

Act Now
Posted: April 28, 2015 9:51   Go to blog
Another Bill going to committee on Monday!April 18, 2015 18:29
SB 1634, Senator Donna Campbell’s bill relating to the Goforth Special Utility District, is scheduled to go before the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations on Monday as well as SB 1440. This is the bill that limits Goforth’s power of eminent domain to build a pipeline. Please take a few minutes of your Internet time today to send a quick email to the members of the committee (see below). Please let them know that you are in support of SB 1634!

Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. eddie.lucio@senate.state.tx,
Sen. Paul Bettencourt paul.bettencourt@senate.state.tx.us
 Sen...
SB 1634, Senator Donna Campbell’s bill relating to the Goforth Special Utility District, is scheduled to go before the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations on Monday as well as SB 1440
This is the bill that limits Goforth’s power of eminent domain to build a pipeline. 
Please take a few minutes of your Internet time today to send a quick email to the members of the committee (see below). Please let them know that you are in support of SB 1634!

Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. eddie.lucio@senate.state.tx,

Sen. Paul Bettencourt paul.bettencourt@senate.state.tx.us
 
Sen. Donna Campbell --- She supports her own bill, but you can thank her! donna.campbell@senate.state.tx.us
 
Sen. José Menéndez jose.menendez@senate.state.tx.us
 
Sen. Robert Nichols robert.nichols@senate.state.tx.us 


Posted: April 18, 2015 18:29   Go to blog

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Wimberley Valley Watershed Association   
P. O. Box 2534
Wimberley, TX 78676
512 722-3390   mail@wimberleywatershed.org

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