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Jacob’s Well Natural Area Swim Season Ends, Park Remains Open for Nature ActivitiesAugust 28, 2014 10:28




Hays County, Texas
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www.haysinformed.com for Countywide Emergency InfoInformation for the News MediaAug. 21, 2014  UPDATED

Jacob’s Well Natural Area Swim Season Ends, Park Remains Open for Nature Activities
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Jacob’s Well Natural Area will close to swimmers for the winter following the Labor Day weekend so that park employees can work on restoration activities...




Hays County, Texas
www.haysinformed.com for Countywide Emergency Info
Information for the News Media
Aug. 21, 2014  UPDATED


Jacob’s Well Natural Area Swim Season Ends, Park Remains Open for Nature Activities

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Jacobs Well Natural Area will close to swimmers for the winter following the Labor Day weekend so that park employees can work on restoration activities.

Beginning Tuesday, September 2, park hours will change to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and be open for hiking, bird- watching, picnicking and the popular 10 a.m. Saturday tours led by Hays County Master Naturalists.

Weve had an amazingly active swim season following local and national media exposure,” said Clint Garza, Director of Development and Community Services for Hays County. “Our park employees can now focus on major projects such as trail building, updating park amenities and other infrastructure improvements. We expect to offer our visitors an even better experience once these improvements are made and to allow swimming again, on a limited basis, during the 2015 swim season. We will continue to restore the Jacobs Well Natural Area to protect our natural resources while sharing it with our visitors in the coming seasons,” Garza said.

There may be times due to heavy construction that the entire park will be closed. Visitors are encouraged to call the Parks Information Line for updates at 512-847-2140 before heading out to Jacobs Well Natural Area. For more information about Hays County Parks, visit www.co.hays.tx.us and choose Parks from the Office dropdown tab.
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Posted: August 28, 2014 10:28   Go to blog
GEAA publishes Manual for Edwards Aquifer regionAugust 28, 2014 10:24

Dear GEAA members and friends,

I am delighted to announce the completion of GEAA’s latest publication, Watershed Stewardship for the Edwards Aquifer Region, a Low Impact Development Manual.  This project has been in the works for years, and we are so happy to have finally sent it off to the printers!  You can access the full publication on-line here.


This manual was designed for developers, landscape architects, and all of those who live on, or are planning to build over our fragile aquifer recharge areas...

Dear GEAA members and friends,

I am delighted to announce the completion of GEAA’s latest publication, Watershed Stewardship for the Edwards Aquifer Region, a Low Impact Development Manual.  This project has been in the works for years, and we are so happy to have finally sent it off to the printers!  You can access the full publication on-line here.


This manual was designed for developers, landscape architects, and all of those who live on, or are planning to build over our fragile aquifer recharge areas.  Information about techniques that encourage infiltration of clean stormwater on site, and how plantings and landscaping can be used to mitigate stormwater pollution are outlined in the Manual, which also includes a beautifully illustrated compendium of native and drought tolerant plants appropriate for use in our area.  Please take a look and tell us what you think.
We are extremely grateful to all who contributed to the creation of this publication – especially to karst expert, George Veni, and graphic artist, Janet Thome for their considerable expertise and artistry.

Full color print copies will be available for sale in mid-September through the GEAA store on our web site, and in our office at 1809 Blanco Road in San Antonio.  On line access is available from the "Publications" section on our web site.

Again, thank you to everyone who made this possible! 
Annalisa Peace, Exective Director,
Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance


You can always keep up with interesting water news on GEAA's Face Book page
and, you can mail contributions to support GEAA to PO Box 15618, San Antonio, Texas 78212
Posted: August 28, 2014 10:24   Go to blog
Neighbor to Neighbor News Pass it on...Hill Country News...August 27, 2014August 27, 2014 13:27





Truck Stop in Hill Country Threatens Llano River

Hill Country preservationists are calling on state officials to act after Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest truck stop operator and diesel fuel retailer, broke ground on an environmentally sensitive site in Junction only a few hundred yards from the banks of the North Fork of the Llano River. Read more from the Rivard Report...

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Truck Stop in Hill Country Threatens Llano River

Hill Country preservationists are calling on state officials to act after Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest truck stop operator and diesel fuel retailer, broke ground on an environmentally sensitive site in Junction only a few hundred yards from the banks of the North Fork of the Llano River. Read more from the Rivard Report.
Workshop Will Feature Discussion of Proposed Blumenthal Substation and Transmission Line
A landowner workshop has been planned for all interested in, or potentially impacted by, the proposed substation and transmission line planned for the Blumenthal area, September 6 near Fredericksburg. Learn more

Texans Speak Up for Beautiful Highways: TxDOT withdraws proposal for taller billboards
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has withdrawn its June 2014 proposed rule change that would have allowed billboards along federal highways to be taller. After receiving public comments from more than 900 Texans and 15 organizations in opposition to taller billboards, the agency advised today it is removing the item from consideration on the August 28 Texas Transportation Commission agenda. Learn more

The City of Fredericksburg takes steps to protect the night sky
Efforts to limit the nighttime glow in and around Fredericksburg were buoyed this month as the council approved an outdoor lighting standards ordinance, which will primarily affect new residential and commercial development. A complete draft of the ordinance can be found on the city’s website, www.fbgtx.org. Learn about Hill Country attorney-astronomer, HCA Night Sky team member Ken Kattner who records skies from home observatory and advocates for proper lighting in the Hill Country here.

SAWS proposing Burleson County pipeline – questions raised

SAWS presented plans for a 142 mile pipeline from Burleson County to San Antonio at a recent community forum at UTSA. Learn more and watch a video from SAWS news here. While the plan promises 50,000 acre feet of non-Edwards water annually, a Texas Public Radio segment points out that perhaps not enough questions have been raised. Are there consequences related to costs to the community and impacts on San Antonio’s conservation ethic worth exploring? Click here to read and listen to “The Source: Some Critique On A SAWS, Vista Ridge Deal." Decisions will be made by SAWS in September and SA City Council could take this up in October.

The City of Dripping Springs is planning for a “World Class Trail”
“The routes will connect destinations beyond Dripping Springs and will take advantage of opportunities to reach the proposed Violet Crown Trail and other regional trails and parks planned for Central Texas.” Read more and get involved. The City of Dripping Springs is soliciting input.

Rainwater Revival Returns to Dripping Springs on October 25
Look to the sky for your water supply—and learn how to capture and use it at the fifth annual Rainwater Revival, which returns to Dripping Springs on October 25. The popular and free edu-fest event is put on by the Hill Country Alliance. “We began our part-educational, part-fun fest in Dripping Springs in 2010, and after two years there we took the event on the road to other parts of the Hill Country,” said Event Chair Karen Ford. “We’re happy to be coming ‘home’ to share the latest information about rainwater conservation and harvesting at Dripping Springs Ranch Park. Learn more

NPSOT Native Landscape Certification Program - Register Now for 2014 Fall Classes
The Native Plant Society of Texas Native Landscape Certification Program is a series of courses that teaches best practices for native plant landscape and habitat preservation. Targeted audiences are homeowners, native plant enthusiasts, landscape architects, architects, landscape designers and nurserymen, Master Naturalists, teachers, citizens, Master Gardeners, engineers, and more. Learn more and register.

San Antonio Mulls $3 Billion Water Supply Project
Depending on whom you ask, San Antonio might either be on the cusp of securing its water future at a relatively low cost, or it is pinning most of its hopes on a multibillion-dollar boondoggle that could diminish the water supply for fast-growing Central Texas and wouldn’t deliver what San Antonio expects. Read more from the Texas Tribune.

Interested in getting more actively involved in HCA?
Join HCA leaders and volunteers as well as invited elected officials, GCD board members, landowners and conservationists for a day dedicated to vibrant towns, healthy landscapes, protected natural water systems and people making a difference in our Hill Country.  HCA Leadership Summit, September 25th at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg. Learn more and register today.

Upcoming Events

September

September 6 in Fredericksburg - HCA Landowner Workshop: Discussion of the Blumenthal Substation and Transmission Line - Details
Sepbember 8-12 in Austin - 6th International Workshop on Catchment Hydrological Modeling and Data Assimilation - Details
September 9 in Kerrville - “Drought Impact in Kerr County & How to Improve Our River’s Health” by Tara Bushnoe, UGRA’s Natural Resource Coordinator, at the Riverside Nature Center - Details
September 11 in Wimberley - Community Water Meeting, hosted by CARD - Details
September 12 in Kendalia - 2014 New Landowner Series: Wildlife and Range Management, Brush Work and Sculpting - Presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Details

September 22 in Kerrville - Monthly meeting of the Texas Master Naturalists - Topic: Hill Country Land Trusts, Speaker: Bill Lindemann, Vice President of Hill Country Land Trust - Details
September 26-28 in Belton - Renewable Energy Roundup - Details

September 27-28 in Boerne - Texas Hydro-Geo Workshop - Details
September 28 in Austin - 7th Annual Celebration of Children in Nature - Hosted by The Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin and the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center - Details
*Save the date for the October 8th Water Forum: Securing our Water Future
“Innovative Strategies and Hard Choices for a Secure Future” will be moderated by Robert Rivard and hosted at the Historic Pearl Stable in San Antonio. A stellar line-up of speakers includes: Berto Guerra, Bill West, Andy Sansom and Karen Guz. Learn more and mark your calendar today.
Posted: August 27, 2014 13:27   Go to blog
Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States, Water loss of 63 trillion gallons causing western U.S. ground to riseAugust 27, 2014 10:40


(Photo : Shawn Lawrence, UNAVCO)
Our aquifers will be our water of last resort after the reservoirs go dry…..of course there is always treated excrement.Water loss of 63 trillion gallons causing western U.S. ground to rise: Scripps study, Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States, was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey.  Authors: Adrian Antal Borsa, Duncan Carr Agnew, Daniel R. Cayan.The western United States has been experiencing severe drought since 2013...


(Photo : Shawn Lawrence, UNAVCO)

Our aquifers will be our water of last resort after the reservoirs go dry…..of course there is always treated excrement.
Water loss of 63 trillion gallons causing western U.S. ground to rise:
Scripps study, Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States, was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey.  Authors: Adrian Antal Borsa, Duncan Carr Agnew, Daniel R. Cayan.
The western United States has been experiencing severe drought since 2013. The solid earth response to the accompanying loss of surface and near-surface water mass should be a broad region of uplift. We use seasonally-adjusted time series from continuously operating GPS stations to measure this uplift, which we invert to estimate mass loss. The median uplift is 4 mm, with values up to 15 mm in California’s mountains. The associated pattern of mass loss, which ranges up to 50 cm of water equivalent, is consistent with observed decreases in precipitation and streamflow. We estimate the total deficit to be about 240 Gt, equivalent to a 10 cm layer of water over the entire region, or the annual mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet.
Satellite study reveals parched U.S. West using up underground water
24 July 2014, American Geophysical Union
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new study finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought.
If You Think the Water Crisis Can't Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained
We're pumping irreplaceable groundwater to counter the drought. When it's gone, the real crisis begins.
Posted: August 27, 2014 10:40   Go to blog
BSEACD Bulletin: Stage II Alarm Drought, Strategic Walk and Talk, Current Conditions August 25, 2014 16:57

Email Notice
August 21, 2014
For more information,
visit our website:
www.bseacd.org
Visit us on Facebook!
In This Issue...
Return to Stage II Alarm Drought
Strategic Walk and Talk
Current Aquifer Conditions
 
Mission:
The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District is committed to conserving, protecting, recharging, and preventing waste of groundwater and to preserving all aquifers within the District.
The District was created in 1987 by the Texas Legislature as the responsible public authority and the preferred entity for managing groundwater
in District aquifers...

Email Notice
August 21, 2014
For more information,
visit our website:

www.bseacd.org

Visit us on Facebook!

In This Issue...
Return to Stage II Alarm Drought
Strategic Walk and Talk
Current Aquifer Conditions
 
Mission:
The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District is committed to conserving, protecting, recharging, and preventing waste of groundwater and to preserving all aquifers within the District.

The District was created in 1987 by the Texas Legislature as the responsible public authority and the preferred entity for managing groundwater
in District aquifers.


Barton Springs/ Edwards Aquifer  Conservation District

 

Aquifer District Returns to Stage II Alarm Drought

Aquifer District Returns to Stage II Alarm Drought. The District’s Board of Directors declared Stage II Alarm Drought at the August 14th Board Meeting, effective immediately. Lovelady monitor well, one of the District’s two drought-trigger sites, crossed below its Stage II Alarm Drought water level of 478.4 feet above mean sea level in mid-July.

All permittees must achieve at least a 20% reduction in monthly pumpage. Permittees with conditional permits have to reduce use even further. End-user customers served by water utilities on groundwater wells are required to comply with their utility’s water use restrictions for this drought stage. Generally, restricting outdoor water use, including limiting landscape irrigation, pool filling & refilling, and non-essential water use such as water fountains, is sufficient to reach monthly pumpage targets for Stage II Alarm Drought.

Press Release available here:
www.bseacd.org/publications/press-releases/


Strategic Walk and Talk

Each year the Aquifer District devotes resources for a Strategic Walk and Talk campaign.  This team of folks can mobilize to either provide rapid response well owner notices in the event of a spill or education to increase awareness of District programs.  This year there were no spills that affected water quality for our groundwater users, so the team will be carrying information about the recent Stage II Alarm Drought declaration and about District programs such as well owner resources, scholarship programs, and Friends of the Aquifers notices.

Keep your eyes out for our Strategic Walk and Talk team.  They could be in your neighborhood during the next two weeks.  


Current Aquifer Conditions
August 14, 2014Stage II Alarm Drought

Click on the image on the right to access the current drought chart or visit:www.bseacd.org/aquifer-science/drought-status/

Drought Indicators
Current Conditions
Stage II
Alarm
Trigger
Stage III
Critical
Trigger
Stage IV
Exceptional
Trigger
Barton Springs Discharge
(10-day avg.)
38
cfs
38
cfs
20
cfs
14
cfs
Lovelady Indicator Well
(feet above mean sea level)
474.2
ft msl
478.4
ft msl
462.7
ft msl
457.1
ft msl
 
Data from 8/14/2014

 
 
Posted: August 25, 2014 16:57   Go to blog
Last Chance to Speak Up for Water Conservation!August 21, 2014 16:15
Photo by Charles Kruvand.Less than two weeks remain for Texans to speak up for water conservation! The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has set September 1 as the deadline to receive comments on the agency’s proposed rules to implement Proposition 6. Prop 6 – passed overwhelmingly by Texas voters last November – created new state water funds to help Texas communities meet their water needs...
Photo by Charles Kruvand.
Less than two weeks remain for Texans to speak up for water conservation! The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has set September 1 as the deadline to receive comments on the agency’s proposed rules to implement Proposition 6. Prop 6 – passed overwhelmingly by Texas voters last November – created new state water funds to help Texas communities meet their water needs.
The Sierra Club supported Prop 6 because not less than 20% of the new funding is intended for water conservation or reuse and for the first time projects in the state water plan must be prioritized before being eligible for state funding. To be sure that the new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and a related fund achieve their potential, however, Texans need to show support for water conservation! TWDB has made it easy to do so, and the agency leadership is eager to hear your opinion. Tell the state water agency you want water conservation projects to be the first priority for funding!
These hot August days remind us that we Texans always need to conserve our precious water resources. Let’s make sure the new state water fund helps us do that!

Sincerely,
Ken Kramer
Water Resources Chair

Posted: August 21, 2014 16:15   Go to blog
HCA Press Release - Rainwater Revival Returns to Dripping Springs Oct. 25August 20, 2014 16:30



Media Contact: Kathi Thomas 512.479.9H2O info@rainwaterrevival.com
Rainwater Revival Returns to Dripping Springs on October 25
(August 18, 2014) – Look to the sky for your water supply—and learn how to capture and use it at the fifth annual Rainwater Revival, which returns to Dripping Springs on October 25. The popular and free edu-fest event is put on by the Hill Country Alliance...



Media Contact:
Kathi Thomas
512.479.9H2O

Rainwater Revival Returns to Dripping Springs on October 25

(August 18, 2014) – Look to the sky for your water supply—and learn how to capture and use it at the fifth annual Rainwater Revival, which returns to Dripping Springs on October 25. The popular and free edu-fest event is put on by the Hill Country Alliance.

“We began our part-educational, part-fun fest in Dripping Springs in 2010, and after two years there we took the event on the road to other parts of the Hill Country,” said Event Chair Karen Ford. “We’re happy to be coming ‘home’ to share the latest information about rainwater conservation and harvesting at Dripping Springs Ranch Park. With increasing population growth and development, we know there continues to be a huge interest in rainwater harvesting to take some pressure off local aquifers and dwindling surface water supplies.”

Since the start of the annual event, thousands of people—both novices and experienced rainwater harvesters—have learned the latest in rainwater catchment techniques for both indoor and outdoor use from an array of experts, speakers and exhibitors. At the same time, the family-friendly Rainwater Revival offers food, music and conservation-themed arts and crafts for the kids. Once again, rain barrels turned in to functional works of art by Hill Country artists will be auctioned off in order to provide grants to Hill Country schools for conservation activities.

“While the drought is still seriously affecting our public water supplies, we know the Hill Country receives enough rain events to fill tanks and provide an ongoing water supply to savvy rainwater harvesters,” said Hill Country Alliance’s Christy Muse. “Once someone sees how simple it is to collect and use rainwater captured on their own property, they’re hooked.”

Homeowners who live entirely on rainwater, along with professional rainwater catchment system designers and installers, and experienced do-it-yourselfers, will share information throughout the one-day event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found at: rainwaterrevival.com

The Hill Country Alliance is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country.
Posted: August 20, 2014 16:30   Go to blog
Hill Country Alliance Announces Winners of Photography Contest for 2015 CalendarAugust 20, 2014 11:33

A desolate tree beautifully framed by a sunset and clouds, an old railroad bridge by starlight, a Texas-sized colorful bug, a cabin framed by a double rainbow—these describe images chosen as winners in the 2014 Hill Country Alliance (HCA) photography contest. These photos and more will be spotlighted in the 2015 HCA calendar, expected to go on sale in September on HCA’s website.

“All of our photographers are winners,” said Christy Muse of HCA...

A desolate tree beautifully framed by a sunset and clouds, an old railroad bridge by starlight, a Texas-sized colorful bug, a cabin framed by a double rainbow—these describe images chosen as winners in the 2014 Hill Country Alliance (HCA) photography contest. These photos and more will be spotlighted in the 2015 HCA calendar, expected to go on sale in September on HCA’s website.

“All of our photographers are winners,” said Christy Muse of HCA. “Each year it is so difficult to choose photos that best represent the Hill Country and tell the story of what we must protect and preserve. With nearly 400 photo submissions this year, the 2015 calendar will be as usual, stunning and evocative.”

“It’s through photographs like these that we help share the importance of protecting our Hill Country environment, and one of the reasons our calendar has been so popular with both area residents and nature lovers worldwide,” said Milan J. Michalec, board president of HCA.

Grand prize winner Mark Holly, who recently relocated from Bandera to Boerne, submitted No Bluebonnets this Year! and although the spring flowers weren’t what were hoped for, the striking composition of a dead tree and parched landscape surrounded by clouds glowing in the sunset allowed him to find beauty where some might not. Holly, who took up photography in college while studying information technology, said that he most enjoys landscape settings because there are “so many beautiful scenes that need to be shared.” After an early retirement, he took time to determine what he wanted to do with his life and focused on photography, much of which lends itself to black-and-white compositions. “I love the ability to capture and create scenes that might brighten someone’s day … I hope that people who are unable to visit these sites will be able to enjoy their beauty. The Texas Hill Country keeps me inspired, and I worry about our natural resources. I hope its beauty will remain for generations to come.”

Tod Grubbs won first place with his work Stars over the Rail Road Bridge. Grubbs and his wife have turned their passion for photography into a career, and prefer to photograph landscapes and cityscapes. “It was a challenge finding the composition we were looking for outside of the light dome of Austin and San Antonio, but this happened to be just what we were hoping for – the perfect combination of a moonless night, the star-filled galaxy, and the railroad bridge,” Grubbs said. The photo was taken east of Llano on Highway 29. “The unique and varied landscapes of Central Texas bring me a lot of joy as a photographer.” He and his wife are searching now for the perfect windmill to photograph.

Second-place winner Tom Conner credited the Hill Country with reconnecting him with nature and as his inspiration for photographing wildlife surrounding his cabin near Hondo. “I decided to submit Texas Alien because the smaller life forms we encounter every day are very often overlooked,” he said. “If we slow down and really take time to observe them, they each offer something interesting. Capturing the magnificence and mystery of Texas wildlife is my passion.” Now retired, Conner’s photography hobby became his career and after courses at the New York Institute of Photography, he ran a studio in San Antonio.

Christina Ellis garnered third place for Spring Rainbows, photographed during a break in an intense thunderstorm in April near Wimberley. “I stepped outside to enjoy the rain-cooled air, and saw an amazing double rainbow over the art studio my husband built,” she said. “It seemed magical.” A photographer for some 40 years, Ellis said she never tires of finding inspiration from the outdoors. “The Hill Country is my home, and it is never boring,” she said.
Check out more top photos from the 2014 HCA Photo Contest!

The 2015 Texas Hill Country Calendar, featuring stunning photographs from the 2014 HCA Photo Contest, will be on sale in a few weeks. Calendars will be available for purchase at retailers throughout the Hill Country as well as online though the HCA website. Check back at www.hillcountryalliance.org for availability.
Posted: August 20, 2014 11:33   Go to blog
San Antonio Mulls $3 Billion Water Supply Project, The Texas Tribune, by Neena Satija August 13, 2014 14:42
SAN ANTONIO — Depending on whom you ask, San Antonio might either be on the cusp of securing its water future at a relatively low cost, or it is pinning most of its hopes on a multibillion-dollar boondoggle that could diminish the water supply for fast-growing Central Texas and wouldn’t deliver what San Antonio expects.

For decades, the city has searched for a water supply beyond the dwindling Edwards Aquifer...
SAN ANTONIO — Depending on whom you ask, San Antonio might either be on the cusp of securing its water future at a relatively low cost, or it is pinning most of its hopes on a multibillion-dollar boondoggle that could diminish the water supply for fast-growing Central Texas and wouldn’t deliver what San Antonio expects.

For decades, the city has searched for a water supply beyond the dwindling Edwards Aquifer. And now officials at San Antonio Water System, the city's water utility, are negotiating with two private companies — the Austin-based Central





Texas water supplier BlueWater and the Spanish company Abengoa — to pipe in 16 billion gallons of water a year from Burleson County in Central Texas. The utility estimates that the project would cost $3 billion over 30 years and boost its water supply by about 20 percent starting in 2019. Berto Guerra, chairman of the SAWS board, said the project would be key in ensuring the city remains a good place to do business in the coming decades.




“Somebody will say, someone way back 20 years ago had the courage and had the vision to do what was right,” he said Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt hotel in San Antonio, at the first of a series of public forums the utility will have about the project. 

But questions still remain about how much the project would cost ratepayers in the San Antonio metro area, its impact on the utility’s business model and conservation culture, and — perhaps most significantly — whether 16 billion gallons of groundwater is really available from Central Texas’ Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer.\

"This is a logical move for San Antonio, but it doesn't dismiss the importance of caution," said Ron Nirenberg, a city councilman. "If our pursuit is actually to secure more water long-term, then maximum available groundwater is absolutely a top concern."
Available groundwater may indeed be a concern, even though the two water companies say they've already secured more than enough water rights from the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District, which regulates groundwater withdrawals in Burleson County. According to the district's current groundwater models, just under 20 billion gallons of water a year are available from the Carrizo-Wilcox there.

A few billion gallons a year are already pumped from the aquifer by small towns in the county. At the same time, just across the county line in the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, two water companies are fighting district officials and local landowners to pull about 15 billion gallons of water annually from the same aquifer.

Gary Westbrook, general manager of the Post Oak district, said in an interview that the groundwater withdrawals from the Lost Pines district have a significant impact on Burleson County. 
“Sooner or later, any amount of water that gets used from our neighbors is going to impact what’s available in our district. We’ve never doubted that,” he said. Westbrook estimated that in 10 to 15 years, the district would have to “curtail” pumping, which could impact the availability of water to San Antonio.

Westbrook also appeared surprised that SAWS would in 2019 begin pumping the full 16 billion gallons out of the aquifer, because most of the other pumpers in the district today don't use the entirety of the groundwater that is allocated to them. “If they go to the full [16 billion gallons], obviously that’s going to change a lot of our considerations. That’s going to be a much different permit than we’re used to dealing with, and that’s okay,” he said.

SAWS officials say they’re protected from such concerns because the water companies that would be pumping and transporting the water have bought up extra land and water rights in excess of 16 billion gallons a year. They also say the two companies have agreed that SAWS will only pay for the maximum amount of water the companies can physically deliver. If that turns out to be less than 16 billion gallons of water per year because of pumping curtailments, the companies would lose that money, not SAWS.

Still, at negotiations between SAWS and the two companies that occurred after the public forum on Tuesday afternoon, it was still unclear how that would work. Even if the groundwater district restricted pumping by just 6 percent in one year, which means SAWS is only delivered 94 percent of the water it was promised, that means that the companies would lose $6 million — a substantial amount, said Gene Dawson, owner of a local engineering firm who is a contractor of the companies for the proposed project. 

“If you talk about return on equity, I mean, that just completely wipes it out that year,” Dawson pointed out. “Not being paid for the water is a significant penalty in itself.”
Others worry the deal is being made with too many unanswered questions and not enough public input. Nirenberg, the San Antonio city councilman, noted that it’s still unclear whether the city really needs such a large amount of water upfront and what the impact on water rates will be.
“We do need to be very careful about the public process,” he said. “If we bring a done deal to the public” without answering those questions, “then we are in for a reawakening.” The City Council will have to approve the rate increases needed for the project, which SAWS has said will be in the double digits, though it has not yet provided a more specific number. 

The possible sudden influx of water supplies into San Antonio has caused environmental advocates to question whether the city’s celebrated culture of conservation would continue, particularly because the contract being negotiated is a “take and pay” contract. That means that even if San Antonio doesn’t need 16 billion gallons of water a year, for the next 30 years, as long as that amount of water is deliverable by BlueWater and Abengoa, it will pay an estimated $100 million a year for that amount regardless. Critics say that will create an incentive for the utility to sell more water and discourage conservation.

A potential solution to that, said SAWS President Robert Puente, is for the utility to become a regional water supplier. “In the beginning, and in wet years, [16 billion more gallons annually] is more than what we need,” he said, but many other growing cities along the I-35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio are looking for more water supplies today. Selling them excess water “will help drive down the cost,” Puente said.
Still, that will be an expensive proposition for those cities. At $100 million for 16 billion gallons, the water SAWS is buying costs $2,000 per acre-foot. That’s more than 10 times the wholesale cost of water that Austin pays.

“Who’s to say [other cities] want to buy this water at this very high price?” said Amy Hardberger, an assistant professor of water law and policy at St. Mary’s University. “At the end of the day, if you don’t find a buyer, you’re the buyer. … This is a huge monetary commitment.”
SAWS hopes to finish its negotiations on the project by September and then ask City Council members in October to approve the needed rate increases. Before that happens, Westbrook, the Post Oak Savannah district’s general manager, said, it’s premature to worry about the pipeline’s impact on Central Texas’ water supplies or whether it could deliver the amount of water San Antonio is counting on in the coming decades.

“How do you know that SAWS is going to get the deal done?” he asked. “If they don’t, then it’s a moot question.” If the deal does get done, and the aquifer drops more than is planned, Westbrook said, “we can restrict [pumping] later.”

Disclosure: The San Antonio Water System was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2012. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.
Posted: August 13, 2014 14:42   Go to blog
Conservation News and Info from TLTC August 13, 2014 14:21
Conservation related news from Texas and beyond...

 Texas Senator John Cornyn's Staff Visit the Storm Ranch
Ranch Protected by a Conservation Easement in Partnership with the Hill Country Conservancy 

On top of Peach Tree Hill, Storm Ranch
Pictured: (L to R) Frank Davis (Hill Country Conservancy); Sandy Edwards (Sen Cornyn's TX staff); Josh Storm (landowner); John Porter (Sen Cornyn's DC staff); Lori Olson (Texas Land Trust Council)...
Conservation related news from Texas and beyond...

 Texas Senator John Cornyn's Staff Visit the Storm Ranch
Ranch Protected by a Conservation Easement in Partnership with the Hill Country Conservancy 


On top of Peach Tree Hill, Storm Ranch
Pictured: (L to R) Frank Davis (Hill Country Conservancy); Sandy Edwards (Sen Cornyn's TX staff); Josh Storm (landowner); John Porter (Sen Cornyn's DC staff); Lori Olson (Texas Land Trust Council)
On Monday August 11th staff from the Hill Country Conservancy and Texas Land Trust Council attended a conservation easement site visit with two of Senator John Cornyn's staffers out to the beautiful Storm Ranch in Hays County, Central Texas. John Porter, from the Senator's Washington D.C. staff, as well as Sandy Edwards, Central Texas Regional Director for Senator Cornyn, accompanied our group which was led by Mr Josh Storm, a third generation landowner of the ranch and the current ranch manager.

Josh took all of us on a fabulous tour, showcasing the ranch's cattle operation using rotational grazing, articulating the ranch's "entire ecosystem" management approach. Mr. Storm was such a wonderful host and eloquently described how his family had put the ranch together over the years, and how it was becoming difficult for them to keep it intact...that is, until they discovered the conservation easement tool. Then, in 2005, after researching the conservation easement process and working in partnership with the Hill Country Conservancy of Austin, they began to place the ranch under permanent protection.

The Storm Family is now working on a 4th phase of a conservation easement on their gorgeous and nearly 6,000 acre ranch. Mr. Storm is an amazing ambassador for private lands conservation, how this conservation tool works, and how it can help Texas families.

For more info on the HCC Storm Ranch project, click HERE 

 

 

 

 

 

News Feed
Conservation Efforts Help Long Leaf Pines in E TX
Many thanks to staff of Senator for coming out to tour the Storm Ranch!TX Land Conservation=
Texas Launches New Website with Info on Restore Act Funding All in One Place
Great Article in Austin American Connecting Land Conservation and Water Qualtiy
 

Posted: August 13, 2014 14:21   Go to blog
Drought Conditions, August 2014August 13, 2014 12:07
Owners of private, residential wells should be urged to cooperate with the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) cutbacks. Not by regulation, not by government mandate but because it makes good common sense. Neighbors and neighborhoods must work together to conserve water for their own benefit, for the benefit of their properties, their land and their future. With the full understanding that they must help themselves because during a drought, during a period of insufficient aquifer recharge (rainfall), multiple residential water wells in a subdivision will draw themselves down...
Owners of private, residential wells should be urged to cooperate with the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) cutbacks. Not by regulation, not by government mandate but because it makes good common sense. Neighbors and neighborhoods must work together to conserve water for their own benefit, for the benefit of their properties, their land and their future. With the full understanding that they must help themselves because during a drought, during a period of insufficient aquifer recharge (rainfall), multiple residential water wells in a subdivision will draw themselves down. There are no major industries, no oil and gas production and no major agricultural irrigation in Western Hays County causing groundwater levels to decline; private, residential water users make up the majority of water used. The HTGCD cannot cause increased rainfall and they cannot control production from residential wells.  Local public water supply companies and their customers are already cooperating by cutting back on groundwater usage; rainwater collection systems on private homes and businesses are easing the demand on groundwater; there is no readily available surface water that is not already in demand by others; and there are no desalination projects in the works. Hauling water is valid as long as there are others who have excess water to sell - we borrow from one pocket to pay another.  Conservation is the only near term tool available to local residents and to the groundwater district. There appears to be sufficient groundwater available in Western Hays County to satisfy current demand if users can apply some common sense to production and conservation during periods of drought. You can be certain that it will rain and that it will flood; we can only hope that the Trinity Aquifer will recharge to a level that will get us through the next drought. Below is the latest from the HTGCD’s website Drought Management page.  The Pedernales River has met the 30 consecutive day trigger for drought stage Emergency while the Blanco River is on day 12 as of August 10th.  Once both rivers hit 30 consecutive days, the HTGCD office will announce the start date for drought stage Emergency including a mandatory 40% reduction of operating permit production.  Rain will impact these drought triggers if enough is recorded.  Groundwater production restrictions are mandated for those who have operating permits with the HTGCD.  Exempt well owners (Domestic, Residential and Agricultural use) do not have these production curtailments, but are encouraged to reduce their groundwater use.  The drop you save today may be the drop you have to drink tomorrow.

Rick Broun- HTGCD General Manager
Posted: August 13, 2014 12:07   Go to blog
LAND ALONG CYPRESS CREEK PRESERVEDAugust 08, 2014 9:47
The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) has purchased 8.08 acres in Woodcreek known as the “The Bluffs on Cypress Creek”, which was slated to be developed into 46 condominiums.  The property sits adjacent to Cypress Creek on the south side of the Ranch Rd. 12 bridge.
The WVWA purchased the development rights and the land fee simple from the owners for $1.3 million through a contribution from a local donor...
The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) has purchased 8.08 acres in Woodcreek known as the “The Bluffs on Cypress Creek”, which was slated to be developed into 46 condominiums.  The property sits adjacent to Cypress Creek on the south side of the Ranch Rd. 12 bridge.

The WVWA purchased the development rights and the land fee simple from the owners for $1.3 million through a contribution from a local donor. The WVWA was assisted in negotiations by Jeff Francell of the Texas Nature Conservancy and intends this purchase to become the first program related investment for the WVWA.

The WVWA after purchasing the property, spoke with Mayor Mike Steinert of Woodcreek, Mayor Steve Thurber of  Wimberley and Hays County Commissioner Will Conley to ask for their ideas and interest in participating in planning for possible future uses of the property.

WVWA Board President Malcom Harris said, “ This acquisition averts what could have been a significant water quality impact on Cypress Creek and stops a high density development from going into a very sensitive area next to the creek.  We look forward to working with the community leaders and local stakeholders to utilize this property as an example of conservation design for the Wimberley Valley.”

The Bluffs project was approved under a development agreement with City of Woodcreek in May of 2011. Executive Director, David Baker and WVWA expressed concerns to the City Council about the water quality and quantity impacts on Cypress Creek and the Trinity Aquifer at that time. The project could have been developed in an even denser development without the development agreement.

Mr. Baker approached the Bluffs project manager Robert Peerman earlier this year when he noticed signs going up and a road being built into the property and inquired as to the status of the project. The property was under contract to an Austin developer and the plan for the 46 condominiums was moving forward.  In May the developer backed out and Mr. Peerman contacted the WVWA and agreed to sell  the property to the Association. The Association secured financing and closed the sale on July 25th.

“This is a major victory for Cypress Creek and the Wimberley Valley”  Said Baker, We look forward to continuing to work with our local partners to create a vision for this beautiful property.”

Posted: August 08, 2014 9:47   Go to blog

Posted: August 08, 2014 9:46   Go to blog
Better Lights for Better Nights Conference August 15th in Dripping SpringsAugust 08, 2014 9:46

 
Learn what you and your community should know about outdoor lighting. The purpose of this educational conference is to provide you with experiences and information to allow you to have an in-depth understanding of the talking points and reasons others do or don't embrace controlling outdoor lighting. You'll be provided with real life experiences about how to approach the control of outdoor lighting with and without regulations. You'll get details on the creation and implementation of lighting ordinances and development agreements.  ......


Learn what you and your community should know about outdoor lighting. The purpose of this educational conference is to provide you with experiences and information to allow you to have an in-depth understanding of the talking points and reasons others do or don't embrace controlling outdoor lighting. You'll be provided with real life experiences about how to approach the control of outdoor lighting with and without regulations. You'll get details on the creation and implementation of lighting ordinances and development agreements.  ....» 


Friday, August 15, 2014 • Dripping Springs Ranch Park
We all want artificial light at night outdoors sometimes but let's do it right! Who wants to get rid of GLARE, reduce our ENERGY COSTS, stop LIGHT TRESPASS, understand how lighting affects our HEALTH, improve SAFETY, save the night for WILDLIFE, and restore our view of the STARS?
If you, your customers, or your community wants to address any of those issues, then you need to come to the Better Lights for Better Nights Conference.
The Conference is designed for a broad set of participants including:
* Local planners & municipal staff
* County and city officials
* Elected officials at all levels
* Educators and students
* Developers & Builders
* Realtors
* Property owners and managers
* Community leaders
* Outdoor lighting manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and designers
* Anyone interested in learning about light pollution
Posted: August 08, 2014 9:46   Go to blog
CARD Hosts a Community Water Meeting September 11August 08, 2014 9:44
(This CARD article ran in the Thursday, July 17 Wimberley View.)  Ask any forward-looking Texan to list the most crucial community issues facing our state and he or she is sure to put "water" near the top. Ongoing drought, record-low lake levels and failing water wells have every informed person concerned for our state's near future. Elected officials, cities, farmers, businesses, parents and involved citizens are seeking solutions...
Card Community Meeting Poster
(This CARD article ran in the Thursday, July 17 Wimberley View.)
 
Ask any forward-looking Texan to list the most crucial community issues facing our state and he or she is sure to put "water" near the top. Ongoing drought, record-low lake levels and failing water wells have every informed person concerned for our state's near future. Elected officials, cities, farmers, businesses, parents and involved citizens are seeking solutions. But will we find realistic answers - and soon enough? 

Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) believes meaningful results begin on a local level through individual awareness and effort. To help us all learn more about the risks facing our community and our future, CARD will host a free Community Meeting 

WATER CRISIS: Time to Get Serious!
6-9:30 p.m. Thursday, September 11th,
Wimberley Community Center
14068 Ranch Road 12
 
We hope you will mark the date and come join the conversation on why water is an increasingly critical issue, and how we can all be part of improving the outlook. We'll have great speakers, useful tips, free refreshments and the rare and special opportunity to talk and work together as a community.
Join us at 6 pm to informally "Chat with the Experts" on ways to enhance your family's personal water plan. There will be several tables, all non-commercial, each with a specialist ready to discuss: Lawns, Household Water, Xeriscaping (low-water landscaping and gardening), Rainwater Collection, and the critical relationship between water and energy.

At 7 p.m., we'll move to the BIG water picture, with five outstanding speakers, starting with one of Texas' most respected water experts, Dr. Andy Sansom, Executive Director of Texas State University's Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. Dr. Sansom will introduce the key issues and set the stage for the evening's discussions.

Our speakers will focus on past, present, and future water issues as well as innovative water solutions. On the program: Steve Clouse, Chief Operating Officer of San Antonio Water Systems, Ray Whisenant, Hays County Commissioner and a past president of the Texas Ground Water Association, Peter Newell, Water Resources Engineer at HDR Engineering, a veteran of relief and water development program assessment in stressed nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America, and Bech Bruun of the Texas Water Development Board and a member of the Texas Environmental Flows Advisory Group.

As a bonus, at 9 p.m. the five key speakers, along with County Commissioner Will Conley, will join in a 30-minute panel discussion to answer audience questions.

CARD cordially invites you to join us for this community meeting as we learn first-hand more about the water crisis threatening our community and state, and consider plans and ideas to successfully weather the growing emergency.

Keep up with meeting updates on this website at hayscard.org, and help us get the word out with our poster.
Posted: August 08, 2014 9:44   Go to blog


  


September 25, 2014  

At the Admiral Nimitz Museum Ballroom in Fredericksburg, TX
Begins with coffee and greetings at 8:30am
~ Program from 9:00am - 4:30pm ~
Ends after music and networking at 7:30pm
Posted: August 08, 2014 9:43   Go to blog
Barton Springs Fest This SaturdayAugust 08, 2014 9:15

 Celebrate Barton Springs This Saturday!
Today is the 22nd anniversary of the passing of the Save Our Springs Ordinance.  On August 8, 1992 Austin voters cast their ballot in favor of the citizen-initiated Save Our Springs ordinance.  Millions of developer dollars failed to dent public support for saving the springs for current and future generations, with the SOS ordinance passing with 64% of the vote.
 This Saturday, August 9th,  we celebrate this  anniversary with a full day of Barton Springs Fest activities...

 
Celebrate Barton Springs This Saturday!
Today is the 22nd anniversary of the passing of the Save Our Springs Ordinance.  On August 8, 1992 Austin voters cast their ballot in favor of the citizen-initiated Save Our Springs ordinance.  Millions of developer dollars failed to dent public support for saving the springs for current and future generations, with the SOS ordinance passing with 64% of the vote.
 
This Saturday, August 9th,  we celebrate this  anniversary with a full day of Barton Springs Fest activities.   It's all free, so grab your friends, family, swimsuit and towel and come out for a day at the springs.  Ride your bike if you are able.
 
The blessing of the springs ceremony is at 8am near the diving board and snorkeling tours start at 8:30am.   
The snorkeling tours are almost full but we do have a couple of single spots left.  Email us at sosinfo@sosalliance.org to grab these!  
 



Barton Springs University starts at 10am. Click here to check out the schedule of speakers and panels.  We will also have information on Austin's upcoming 10-1 district elections and SH45SW at our Action Centers.  

Poets by the Pool will feature 12 local poets and songwriters from 10am - 4pm by the statue at the front gate.  Live Music starts at 4pm with Dave Madden Band, followed by the Mishap Marching Band at 5pm and Atash at 6pm.   

More details HERE.   Share this link to Barton Springs Fest activities with your friends and family! See you Tomorrow!
  
 
JOIN SOS ALLIANCE!
Summer membership special 
Student/Individual $10  Family $15 
Save Our Springs Alliance is the only watchdog organization working full time with scientists, lawyers, and educators to protect the land, water and wildlife of the Hill Country and the Edwards Aquifer Ecosystem.  We simply cannot do this work without the continued support of donors like you.   Please consider becoming a member today!  Thank you for your consideration. Click HERE to make your donation online or mail to: SOS, 905 W. Oltorf, Ste A, Austin, Tx  78704.   
 

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Posted: August 08, 2014 9:15   Go to blog
Waterblogue: A conservation aout sustainable waterAugust 08, 2014 9:07
  Water for DFW – Building-scale rainwater harvesting vs. Marvin NicholsPosted August 7, 2014 by waterbloguer

In the last post we reviewed the potential of building-scale rainwater harvesting (RWH) as a water supply strategy in the high-growth area around Austin, in Central Texas. Here, we examine its potential in another high-growth area of Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, commonly called the Metroplex. And then we will contrast that strategy with doubling down on the watershed-scale rainwater harvesting strategy, as may be represented by the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir...

 

 Water for DFW – Building-scale rainwater harvesting vs. Marvin Nichols

Posted August 7, 2014 by waterbloguer

In the last post we reviewed the potential of building-scale rainwater harvesting (RWH) as a water supply strategy in the high-growth area around Austin, in Central Texas. Here, we examine its potential in another high-growth area of Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, commonly called the Metroplex. And then we will contrast that strategy with doubling down on the watershed-scale rainwater harvesting strategy, as may be represented by the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir.
To gain an appreciation for the potential of building-scale RWH in and around the Metroplex, modeling was executed for the following locations: Athens and Terrell to the east-southeast, Ferris closer in to the south, Cleburne to the southwest, Weatherford to the west, Bowie to the northwest, Sherman to the north-northeast, and Denton closer in to the north-northwest. Ringing the Metroplex, these locations offer an overview of conditions all around it.

s was the case for the modeling results of the Central Texas locations, it was seen that “right-sized” building-scale RWH systems around the Metroplex would have provided 97-99% of total interior supply through the recent drought period for houses modeled with a presumed average water usage rate of 45 gallon/person/day. But around the Metroplex, the “right-sized” systems would be somewhat smaller than would be required around Austin. Recall that the “right-sized” system there to serve a 4-person household would be a roofprint of 4,500 sq. ft. and a cistern volume of 35,000 gallons. In Bowie, Weatherford and Cleburne, the “right-sized” system for a 4-person household would require only 3,750 sq. ft. of roofprint, paired with a 25,000-gallon cistern in Cleburne and Weatherford and a 27,500-gallon cistern in Bowie. All other locations would require 3,250-3,500 sq. ft. of roofprint and 20,000-25,000 gallons of cistern capacity. It is expected that a one-story house plan with a 2-car garage plus a “typical” area of covered patios/porches could provide a roofprint of 3,000-3,500 sq. ft., so these modeling results indicate many houses in/around the Metroplex would not require any “extra” roofprint to be added on.....>>>

Posted: August 08, 2014 9:07   Go to blog
Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workshop - begins August 20th and August 27thAugust 06, 2014 11:56


Do you want to create meaningful experiences and memories that last a lifetime?
The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is offering an Interpretation class that will help you connect the minds and hearts of your audience to the beauty of nature and the mysteries of history.
The more hearts we touch, the more minds we inspire, the better the future for our Hill Country...


Do you want to create meaningful experiences and memories that last a lifetime?

The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is offering an Interpretation class that will help
you connect the minds and hearts of your audience to the beauty of nature and the mysteries of history.

The more hearts we touch, the more minds we inspire,
the better the future for our Hill Country.

Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workshop #5

When:        Wednesday and Thursday, August 20-21 and August 27-28

Where:      Westcave Preserve-24814 Hamilton Pool Road,Round Mountain,TX 78663

          * Westcave is smoke free, pet free and we ask our guests to not collect anything
and to stay on the established trails at all times.

What:       Hill Country Alliance, in partnership with the National Association for
               Interpretation (NAI), is offering a course for anyone who delivers  
               messages about natural,cultural or historic sites or who would 
               generally like to more effectively connect with audiences of any size 
               about the importance of protecting the Hill Country.

This 32-hour class will teach you to:
                - Emotionally connect the audience with the presentation topic.
                - Use recent research on social behavior and learning.
                - Tailor programs for diverse audiences and various learning styles.
                - Improve communication and presentation skills.
                - Design and practice a full presentation by the end of the course.

Instructor:   Clark Hancock, Certified Interpretive Trainer: lktemhan@me.com 
                    or call (512) 507-1627.

Cost:    Course only: $245 or Course with NAI Certification: $375
            Fees include materials

This is a small class, only 12 seats are available. Please email 
christy@hillcountryalliance.org for more informationand to begin registration.

Posted: August 06, 2014 11:56   Go to blog
LCRA Colorado River advocacy groups squaring off in water fightAugust 04, 2014 10:20
Categorized | Featured Story - Home Slider, Government, LCRAColorado River advocacy groups squaring off in water fightPosted on 25 July 2014. 
CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF...

Colorado River advocacy groups squaring off in water fight


CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
As drought conditions continue to take a toll on communities in the Highland Lakes, including the Spicewood Beach area, a new downstream coalition has formed to advocate for more water for rice farmers, wildlife entities, environmentalists, fisheries and other interests from Bastrop County to Matagorda Bay. File photo
As drought conditions continue to take a toll on communities in the Highland Lakes, including the Spicewood Beach area, a new downstream coalition has formed to advocate for more water for rice farmers, wildlife entities, environmentalists, fisheries and other interests from Bastrop County to Matagorda Bay. File photo
AUSTIN — As drought conditions continue, the battle over water from the Colorado River heats up between advocacy groups fighting to get their messages across to state agencies with the power to halt supplies.
The Lower Colorado River Basin Coalition, a newly formed group, has assembled advocates from agriculture, environmental, hunting and wildlife interests from Bastrop County to the Matagorda Bay.
“We wanted to make sure the messaging being heard by the public, being heard by our agencies, is a balanced messaging, so that they do hear from everyone who is impacted below Longhorn Dam, Lady Bird Lake in Austin,” coalition chairman Kirby Brown said.
Brown also works as a conservation biologist for Ducks Unlimited, a national organization that focuses on sportsman activities and waterfowl and wetlands conservation.
Other entities that comprise the coalition are the Coastal Conservation Association, the Rice Belt Warehouse, the Red Bluff Hunting Club, Bastrop County, the Sierra Club, Audubon Texas and the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative.
“It’s been one of those things where we felt like we needed to tell the other story. Our entire economies, our businesses are being impacted — not just rice farmers,” Brown said.
The organization formed in June shortly after the Central Texas Water Coalition scored a victory regarding reservoir storage requirements and water-release triggers recommended by the Lower Colorado River Authority and approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The two entities agreed on setting a 1.1 million acre-feet of combined storage requirement for lakes Buchanan and Travis — the previous trigger point was 850,000 acre-feet — citing historic low levels, minimal inflows from rain runoff and persistent drought conditions.
While the reservoirs are currently about 38 percent full, for three years in a row, TCEQ has approved cutting off water releases for the rice farming industry downstream to try to maintain water levels upstream that supply water for domestic use for about a million people in the Highland Lakes from Lake Buchanan to the city of Austin.
The lower basin group criticizes what they believe to be an unyielding and one-sided threat to downstream interests that range from agrarian to environmental.
“That environmental catastrophe that is taking place right now in this drought, it’s one of those things you hate to see,” Brown said. “You hate to see anyone killing a river, killing a bay, then proposing, as TCEQ has proposed, to make sure that firm users upstream of the dam, which includes the city of Austin and other communities, are able to continue watering lawns once a week for 12 to 15 hours a day, while the rice industry is completely cut off, impacting water fowl and the entire river.”
Kevin Kline is vice president for communication for the Central Texas Water Coalition, comprised of dozens of municipalities, businesses, property owners associations, chambers of commerce and counties in the Highland Lakes and Austin area.
He believes the debate has moved past industry needs and into basic needs for upstream residents.
“If you go out to the lakes, you see that none of the public boat ramps are open. Business are closed. Many are struggling. People can’t sell their homes because the value has dropped so much. Even if they wanted to, there are not many buyers,” Kline said. “At this point, it’s really a question of having water for public use, for the cities. Wells are going dry. Some of the utilities are running out of water.”
At the height of the drought in January 2012, Spicewood Beach Water Supply System malfunctioned because of the lower water levels along the Colorado River, hastening LCRA to truck in water up until June of this year while officials secured a new water source. The system, located on Lake Travis about 20 miles east of Marble Falls, has about 500 water connections that serve roughly 1,100 people and an elementary school.
Despite the belief that water releases downstream exacerbated the situation, the Lower Colorado River Basin Coalition believes, to some extent, residents upstream hold some responsibility for maintaining water levels.
“We do not want to hurt anyone’s drinking water. … What we’ve argued is there’s a lot more water conservation that can take place, and that conservation is the key to keeping water in those lakes for many years,” Brown said. “If you stand at Longhorn Dam (south of Austin) and look west, you see a lake that’s full. That’s probably mostly recreational, and then you see the lawns all the way through Austin that are really green.”
During the past several years, rice farm production has dwindled by 20-30 percent. Fisheries have reported lower yields, and environmentalists are documenting higher salination levels, which are a threat to wildlife habitat and waterfowl.
“I look at the suffering on the lakes themselves, and then I look at the suffering downstream, and I see a problem,” Brown said.
Kline agreed, adding he believes downstream interests must adapt with the severity of the drought.
“We would certainly argue that we need more conservation, and that, as we go along, people will have to learn how to use water more effectively,” he said. “It’s also important to keep in mind that Central Texans have made huge strides in conservation. For example, Austin per-capita water use is down 30 percent over the past few years. We’re at the point we need to be keeping water in the lakes, so we have water if this drought continues. For a million people, their source of water is the Colorado River. If we run out of water, it will be a big problem.”
Both sides expect to offer research, goals and potential solutions to the water issue.
“We have evidence now that the droughts can be longer and more severe than anyone ever thought,” Kline said. “It’s good to have as much communication and clarity behind what everyone’s thinking, to have some clarity, to work through it all.”
For more on the Central Texas Water Coalition, go to www.centraltexaswatercoalition.com. For more on the Lower Colorado River Basin Coalition, go to www.waterdownstream.com.
connie@thepicayune.com

Posted: August 04, 2014 10:20   Go to blog
How Corporations are Creating a Life-Threatening Water ShortageAugust 04, 2014 10:11
Carl GibsonOccupy.com / News Analysis Published: Friday 1 August 2014 The world water shortage looks unsolvable and corporations aren’t helping the problem.

Imagine the swift and fierce government response if Al-Qaeda took a precious resource out of a delicate environment, sold it for profit and endangered 40 million people in the process...
Carl Gibson
Occupy.com / News Analysis
Published: Friday 1 August 2014
The world water shortage looks unsolvable and corporations aren’t helping the problem.

Article image

Imagine the swift and fierce government response if Al-Qaeda took a precious resource out of a delicate environment, sold it for profit and endangered 40 million people in the process. Now compare that example to the nonexistent government response to American energy companies, golf courses and corporations like Nestlé taking 75 percent of the groundwater out of the Colorado River Basin at a time when the American West is facing a record drought.
Corporations will continue to abuse their constitutional protections as legal “persons” until fresh water has become fully privatized, or until corporate constitutional rights are eliminated with a constitutional amendment.

Depleting a Precious Resource
Nestlé has two plants on the Colorado River Basin that take in water to bottle and sell under its Arrowhead and Pure Life brands. One is in Salida, Colorado, on the eastern edge of the Upper Basin; the other is in the San Gorgonio Pass, halfway between San Bernardino and Indio, Calif., on the western edge of the Lower Basin. According to annual reports filed up to 2009, Nestlé bottles between 595 and 1,366 acre-feet of water per year – enough to flood that many acres under a foot of water – from the California source. The company takes 200 additional acre-feet per year from the Colorado source. This means altogether Nestlé is draining the Colorado River Basin of anywhere from 250 million to 510 million gallons of water per year, according to the acre-feet-to-gallons conversion calculator.
The Colorado River Basin is an especially critical water resource, responsible for supplying municipal water to 40 million Americans and irrigating 5.5 million acres of land. As the US Bureau of Reclamation has documented, 22 federally-recognized tribes, seven national wildlife refuges, four national recreation areas, and 11 national parks depend on the basin. In a new report by NASA and the University of California at Irvine, researchers discovered that between December of 2004 and November of 2013, the basin lost 53 million acre-feet of water. 41 million acre-feet, or 75 percent of that loss, came from groundwater sources, like those pumped by Nestlé. That’s more than twice the amount of water contained in Lake Mead, America’s largest freshwater reservoir. In the meantime, Nestlé, with 29 water bottling facilities across North America, pocketed $4 billion in revenue from bottled water sales in 2012 alone.
But Nestlé isn’t alone in abusing the main water source of the Western United States. Expansive golf courses in desert areas, like those in Arizona and Southern California, require hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per day to maintain. According to the United States Golf Association (USGA), 2 million acres of American golf courses are irrigated, or 80 percent of the country's total golf course acreage.Between 2003 and 2005, the USGA estimated that 2,312,701 acre-feet of water was used to maintain golf courses, amounting to over 2 billion gallons of water per day. An NPR report from 2008 put that in perspective, comparing the average daily water usage of one golf course to the amount of water used by one American family over the course of 4 years.
An “Insurmountable” Water Crisis by 2040
Egregious abuses of limited freshwater supplies have led to panic from some and greed from others. If current drought conditions and water usage patterns persist, it’s estimated that the world will face an “insurmountable” water crisis by 2040. Aarhaus University of Denmark, the Vermont Law School and the nonprofit CNA Corporation recently released a study showing that a global population increase compounded by an exponential increase in water consumption will inevitably lead to drastic drought conditions unless immediate action is taken. The study projected a 40 percent gap between water supply and demand by 2030 under current conditions.
According to the study, 41 percent of American freshwater consumption came from energy production alone. Energy sources like nuclear and coal power were responsible for the bulk of water consumption, though the process of hydraulic fracturing – better known as fracking, where jets of water mixed with chemicals are blasted underground to break up shale formations that produce natural gas – was also high on the list. A prime example is Texas, where the population is expected to skyrocket from 25 million to 55 million in the next 35 years. Texas currently draws 91 percent of its electricity from natural gas, nuclear and coal power. And in the summer of 2011, Texas experienced its worst drought in history.
Outdoing Texas, California is now facing its worst drought in 1,200 years. Latest numbers from the National Drought Mitigation Center show that 80 percent of California is in “extreme drought.” A full 31 percent of California is experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions, including population centers like Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco. Food prices have gone up by an average of 2.5 percent since last year, and are expected to increase by another 3.5 percent before year's end. No less than 85 percent of the lettuce Americans eat comes from drought-ravaged California. Fresh fruits and vegetable prices are projected to increase by 6 percent in the coming months as a result of the drought.
Constitutionally-Protected Corporate Greed
The research community isn’t the only group of people paying attention to the writing on the wall. Corporate executives are quickly making moves to privatize water resources, declaring the resource to be the next oil. Peter Brabeck, chairman and former CEO of Nestlé, has openly said that "access to water is not a public right." This is in spite of UN Resolution 64/292, which declares that water and sanitation are both basic human rights. The World Health Organization has said that one person needs 20 liters of water for “survival” levels of use, including bathing and laundry. As I wrote previously for Occupy.com, the France-based Suez company is using a New Jersey-based subsidiary to prepare a buyout of Detroit’s water infrastructure, with a potential end goal of privatizing the Detroit River and the Great Lakes.
Researchers argue for greater regulation of water usage to prevent future global drought, though that becomes complicated when looking into how such regulations would be implemented and enforced. The US Bureau of Reclamation monitors surface water, but groundwater regulation is up to individual states. And in the Colorado River Basin, for example, California has no regulations on groundwater usagedespite the Bay Area implementing strict new penalties for excessive use of water. Even if federal or state agencies wanted to intervene to stop corporate entities like golf courses, power companies or Nestlé from using up precious groundwater resources, corporations and their profits are protected under the constitution, giving them the same rights as actual human beings.
Ever since the Supreme Court established that corporations are legally people in the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroadruling of 1886, corporations have successfully overridden a slew of regulations citing the equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment. By proving that a certain regulation would unduly infringe on a corporation’s ability to make a profit, well-heeled corporate entities have lawyered up to defy regulatory agencies for over a century. The Buckley v. Valeo ruling in 1976 further ensconced corporate personhood, and the Citizens United v. FEC ruling in January of 2010 established the precedent that because corporations have the same legal rights as a person, their money is considered free speech. So not only can corporations defy any new regulation on their future usage of precious water resources, but they can spend unlimited amounts of money in election cycles to elect politicians who will prioritize their right to make a profit over a citizen’s right to have access to water.
As long as corporations are given the same constitutional protections as people, they’ll always escape regulation and accountability for their actions. Simply "getting money out of politics" is not enough – only a constitutional amendment that explicitly abolishes the concept of corporate personhood and separates money from free speech will guarantee that necessary actions can be taken to prevent a disastrous water shortage.



ABOUT Carl Gibson
Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. You can contact Carl at usuncut@gmail.com, and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.
Posted: August 04, 2014 10:11   Go to blog
$700 million project set for sensitive Southwest Austin tractAugust 04, 2014 10:07
Land was part of holdings that launched Austin’s SOS environmental movement.Posted: 5:57 p.m. Thursday, July 31, 2014
By Gary Dinges and Shonda Novak - American-Statesman Staff Crews are doing prep work for a $700 million project in Southwest Austin that could bring more than 1,800 apartments and townhomes and 1.5 million square feet of commercial space to a sensitive watershed area that is seeing heightened development.
A local environmental group says it will oppose the project — dubbed Tecoma — by Austin-based developer Stratus Properties Inc...

Land was part of holdings that launched Austin’s SOS environmental movement.

By Gary Dinges and Shonda Novak - American-Statesman Staff

Crews are doing prep work for a $700 million project in Southwest Austin that could bring more than 1,800 apartments and townhomes and 1.5 million square feet of commercial space to a sensitive watershed area that is seeing heightened development.
A local environmental group says it will oppose the project — dubbed Tecoma — by Austin-based developer Stratus Properties Inc., opening a new front in a battle that dates to 1990 when the land was part of a larger swath that became a touchstone for some of Austin’s best-known environmental debates.
The Tecoma project is planned for 650 acres on the north side of Southwest Parkway, across from Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s campus. Tecoma Circle — an extension of William Cannon Drive — is being paved on the site.
By year’s end, Stratus said it expects to start construction on the first phase, 300 apartments and 200,000 square feet of commercial space. The project is approved for 1,856 multifamily units, 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use commercial space and a golf course. It is expected to take about seven years to complete, with the cost projected to top $700 million, said Beau Armstrong, president, chairman and CEO of Stratus.
Tecoma will bring new retail, restaurant and entertainment options to an area that is lacking in them, Armstrong said.
“Every time a resident shops here it will be one less car on MoPac, Highway 71 or Brodie Lane,” he said.
The land was part of the 4,000 acres where Stratus’ former parent company, Freeport-McMoRan, planned its Barton Creek development a quarter-century ago. Austin residents mobilized against the project, with hundreds turning out for an all-night City Council meeting in June 1990 that marked the genesis of the Save Our Springs movement.
Two years later, voters approved the Save Our Springs Ordinance, a measure to protect water quality by putting stricter limits on development in the Barton Creek watershed than existing rules at the time.
The watershed is one of several that feed Barton Springs. Groundwater from the Edwards Aquifer beneath the watershed is the source of drinking water for 70,000 Central Texans, and the quality of the water in the 236,000-acre Barton Springs segment of the aquifer has been degrading over time due to development, said Chris Herrington, an environmental engineer for the city of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department.
City officials say they are allowing Stratus to proceed with the multifamily part of its project under less stringent environmental regulations because Stratus’ preliminary plans were approved before the 1992 passage of the SOS Ordinance. Infrastructure for roads, wastewater treatment facilities and a regional storm water pond also are allowed to proceed on the same basis, city officials say. They say Stratus hasn’t yet applied for approval of commercial development on the tract.
Under the SOS Ordinance, no more than 20 percent of Stratus’ apartment site could have been covered with pavement, buildings and other development that prevents rainwater from seeping into the ground, city officials said. Under the old rules, Stratus can build up to 40 percent of such so-called impervious cover on that site.
Armstrong said the Tecoma project will have water-quality protection measures and sustainable features. The various uses will be clustered, “leaving much of the site in its natural state,” he said.
“We learned very valuable lessons during Austin’s environmental battles during the early 1990s,” Armstrong said. “Stratus has become a huge proponent of sustainable development and has been pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for all of our major projects. Not only do we believe it makes business sense, but it is also the right environmental approach.”
Bill Bunch, executive director of the Save Our Springs Alliance, said that if Stratus cares about protecting Barton Springs, the company needs to comply with the voter-approved SOS Ordinance.
“It’s absurd to say it is protecting the environment when they are claiming grandfathering from the ordinance so they can build under the older, much weaker standards,” Bunch said.
He said his group will oppose Stratus’ efforts to proceed under the older rules: “We will be sitting in and paying attention as they try to move through the approval process.”
Along both sides of Southwest Parkway, development has been growing for some time. Many of the projects were built under less stringent development and water-quality regulations because previously approved agreements predated the SOS Ordinance or because a state law allowed them to get built under older rules.
In the past year or so, however, development seems to be picking up, said Chuck Lesniak, the city’s environmental officer.
“Over the last year or so, we’ve seen more development applications for properties along Southwest Parkway,” primarily for multifamily and office projects, Lesniak said.
Experts say that development in the Barton Springs watershed and other watershed areas is negatively impacting the water quality in Barton Springs, where 750,000 people swim every year.
“Substantial documentation exists that Barton Springs water quality is affected more by development in the Barton Creek watershed than by development from any other watershed, because of the proximity of Barton Creek to the springs,” said Raymond Slade Jr., a retired hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Herrington, the city environmental engineer, said the most recent published report points to a trend of degrading water quality in Barton Springs, with some of the most significant threats being an increase in nitrogen from wastewater disposal and decreasing levels of dissolved oxygen, which salamanders and other aquatic organisms need to breathe.
“We definitely think that urbanization and increased disposal of wastewater in the Barton Springs zone are the cause of nitrogen increases and in general the degrading water quality in Barton Springs,” Herrington said. “The water quality overall is very good, but we see some degrading trends over time, and we’re very concerned about the degrading trends over time.”
In 1995, undeveloped and agricultural land made up 90 percent of the Barton Springs zone. By 2006, undeveloped land had decreased to 51 percent — although the amount of permanently protected lands increased 11 percent during that time, Herrington said.
Stratus has contributed to those protected holdings. In 1994, Stratus gave the Texas chapter of the Nature Conservancy the money to buy more than 4,000 acres of acres of environmentally sensitive habitat along Barton Creek as a permanent environmental preserve. In return, Stratus (then called FM Properties) obtained a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing it to build its 4,000-acre Barton Creek development in the habitat of endangered songbirds.
Jeff Francell, the conservancy’s associate director for land protection, said the transaction remains the largest mitigation deal for endangered species in Travis County to date.

Posted: August 04, 2014 10:07   Go to blog
Conservation News and Info from TLTC August 04, 2014 10:05
Conservation related news from Texas and beyond...
ACTION ALERT : Help Move the Conservation Tax Incentive Legislation Forward!

Ask TX Senators to Support the
"Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act"


On July 17, the House voted on H.R. 4719, "The America Gives More Act," which included the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. The bill, which would make strong landowner tax incentives for land conservation permanent, passed by a strong, bipartisan vote of 277-130...
Conservation related news from Texas and beyond...

ACTION ALERT : Help Move the Conservation Tax Incentive Legislation Forward!

Ask TX Senators to Support the
"Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act"


On July 17, the House voted on H.R. 4719, "The America Gives More Act," which included the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. The bill, which would make strong landowner tax incentives for land conservation permanent, passed by a strong, bipartisan vote of 277-130. This is an amazing accomplishment!

The measure now goes to the Senate, where we also have strong support, but face new challenges in breaking through a legislative logjam. Let’s take full advantage of this historic opportunity and put pressure on the Senate to ACT NOW by reaching out NOW to our Texas Senators to let them know that we support making this important tax incentive for conservation permanent!

You can take action today by calling our Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to join fellow Republican Orrin Hatch (UT) and 25 of his Senate colleagues as co-sponsors of the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act, S. 526.

Call Senator Cornyn at: (202) 224-2934  / Senator Cruz at: (202) 224-5922

- Introduce yourself or your organization and tell them how important this tax incentive is to conservation work in your community.
- Tell them how the tax incentive helps family farmers, ranchers, and modest-income landowners protect their land and water resources.
- Urge the Senators to co-sponsor the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act, S. 526, introduced by Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Let them know that Senators interested in co-sponsoring should send a signed Unanimous Consent request to the Senate floor.

**Remind Republicans that conservation easements are a cost-effective, voluntary, private-sector alternative to government led conservation efforts and that this incentive makes the tax system fairer for modest-income farmers, ranchers and forest owners.

Let's make sure we do EVERYTHING we can to take advantage of this historic opportunity to make the conservation tax incentive permanent. This is the closest we have ever been...so if you are looking for a reason to get involved, now is the time!

Call TODAY to encourage our US Senators to support S.526- the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act! 

News Feed
Great Article in Austin American Connecting Land Conservation and Water Qualtiy
US House Votes Today on the "America Gives More Act of 2014" - Bill Makes Conservation Tax Incentives Permanent!
Will This Fast Food Billionaire Take His Conservation Giving National? - Inside Philanthropy
Great Summary of Recent Cases on IRS Challenges to Tax Deductions for Conservation Easements
US Interior Secretary Visits TX, Touts Land & Water Conservation Fund
Follow TLTC on Twitter       @TexasLandTrusts
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Posted: August 04, 2014 10:05   Go to blog
Neighbor to Neighbor News and EventsJuly 24, 2014 11:00
Neighbor to Neighbor News Pass it on...
July 22, 2014

Hill Country News
"Destination Junction" Community Meeting All InvitedThe South Llano Watershed Alliance invites all persons interested in protecting and restoring the confluence of the North Llano River and South Llano River to attend a community meeting on Thursday, July 31st at 6pm in the Kimble County Courthouse...
HCA NEWS Logo
Neighbor to Neighbor News Pass it on...
July 22, 2014

Hill Country News
"Destination Junction" Community Meeting All InvitedThe South Llano Watershed Alliance invites all persons interested in protecting and restoring the confluence of the North Llano River and South Llano River to attend a community meeting on Thursday, July 31st at 6pm in the Kimble County Courthouse. Topics to include: Strengths of our Water Resources, Fundamentals of Hill Country Rivers, creating a Land of Living Waters Nature Center and Effective Water Quality Protection Measures for Development in the Hill Country. Learn more
 
Can brush control program enhance water supplies?“A state program meant to encourage old-school range management and new-school water saving methods has become the subject of a peculiarly Texas controversy. The State Soil and Water Conservation Board will decide Monday how to disburse millions of dollars to clear brush from ranches in the name of boosting water supplies. Money has already been set aside for projects to begin this summer.” Read more from Asher Price at Statesman.com.
 

Call for 2015 Rainwater Revival Exhibitors!HCA is currently looking for Rainwater Harvesting and related businesses and organizations to exhibit at the 2015 Rainwater Revival! This one-day “edu-fest” is the perfect opportunity to meet one-on-one with citizens interested in water conservation, rainwater harvesting and native landscaping. Become an exhibitor today.

Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workshop Just added for August at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center
Do you want to create meaningful experiences that last a lifetime? HCA is offering an Interpretive Guide Training workshop that will help you connect the minds and hearts of your audience to the beauty of nature and the mysteries of history. Register now, class size limited. Details

To protect aquifer, limit SAWS service
“Now that San Antonio Water Systems is considering acquisition of new water supplies from the Vista Ridge project, the prospect that these supplies will be used to expand development over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone looms large. By approving these utility service agreements, SAWS opens up new areas of highly sensitive aquifer lands to high density development.” Read an open letter to SAWS by Annalisa Peace as published in the San Antonio Express News.

Conservation Groups Encourage Input on State Water Funding Rules
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has proposed agency rules to govern the use of a new state water project fund approved by voters last November with the passage of Proposition 6. State conservation groups are encouraging Texans to take the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rules. Hearings on the rules begin next Thursday, July 24 in San Antonio, with additional public hearings set for August 13 in San Angelo and August 21 in Fort Worth. In addition TWDB is taking comments via email and postal mail or through a portal on the agency’s website. Read more from Ken Kramer.  A guest commentary was published in the San Antonio Express News today by Luke Metzger of Environment Texas. Read “State Water Fund Rules a Big Deal.”

Cibolo Conservancy sets Aug. 6 workshop to help families protect land, get tax incentives
A workshop exploring how families can legally protect and preserve the legacy of their land – and be eligible for tax relief at the same time – will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm auditorium. Details

HCA Video: I'm for the Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is irreplaceable. Take a few moments to watch and learn about the issues of this great region. You can support HCA by donating online today or by simply letting others know about our work. Watch now

Upcoming Events
July
July 24 in San Antonio - TWDB Board work session on SWIFT draft rules - Details

July 29 in Austin - Austin Youth River Watch Community Forum on Austin Teens and the Environment - Details

July 31 in Junction - South Llano Watershed Alliance “Destination Junction” Community Meeting - Details

August
August 6 in Boerne - Workshop exploring how families can legally protect and preserve the legacy of their land – and be eligible for tax relief at the same time, hosted by the Cibolo Conservancy - Details

August 15 in Dripping Springs - Better Lights for Better Nights - Details

August 19 in Junction - Texas Living Waters Conference - Details

August 26 in Austin - Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council & Lone Star Rail District Discussion on the Future of Transportation & Reception with State Representative Larry Phillips - Details

September
September 12 in Kendalia - 2014 New Landowner Series: Wildlife and Range Management, Brush Work and Sculpting - Presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Details

September 26-28 in Belton - Renewable Energy Roundup - Details

September 28 in Austin - 7th Annual Celebration of Children in Nature - Hosted by The Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin and the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center - Details















Posted: July 24, 2014 11:00   Go to blog
Jacob's Well Is The Coolest Place To Swim In Texas, The Huffington Post | By Carly LedbetterJuly 23, 2014 10:50
Think diving off the deep end is scary? Try jumping into Jacob's Well, which looks like the perfect
-- if not terrifying -- way to spend a summer day.

Called "The Gem of Texas Hill Country," Jacob's Well is in Wimberley -- a short, 45-minute drive from Austin. The well was discovered in 1850 and is one of the longest underwater caves in Texas...
Think diving off the deep end is scary? Try jumping into Jacob's Well, which looks like the perfect
-- if not terrifying -- way to spend a summer day.

Called "The Gem of Texas Hill Country," Jacob's Well is in Wimberley -- a short, 45-minute drive from Austin. The well was discovered in 1850 and is one of the longest underwater caves in Texas.

Its unique coloring and caving system is a "result of slightly acidic rainfall interacting with and
eroding the limestone over millennia," which translates to seriously pretty water and way-cool diving experiences.

But, like any sort of cliff-diving, swimming here can get tricky -- especially with no lifeguards on duty. Jumpers must be extra cautious when leaping from the rocks (signs say not to jump, but that doesn't stop most folk).
The best way to avoid any issues is to stay away from swimming deep within the caves.
Here are some people far braver than us taking the plunge: Click here to view more images
Posted: July 23, 2014 10:50   Go to blog

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

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