On December 16, 2013, the Board of Directors held a rehearing on the Forestar application requesting 45,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year. The Board has previously granted Forestar a permit for 12,000 acre-feet per year.
The hearing was a well attended and well organized. We thank the Board and staff for working with Environmental Stewardship and others to ensure that the public had an opportunity to hear the arguments of the Applicant (Forestar) and District Staff prior to making public comments. We also thank the Board for allowing the public to pool its time so that we could make our arguments in a manner that could be heard and understood by the Board, the Applicant, and the Public.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board adjourned the hearing but did not take action on the application. Our impression is that the Board will take some time to review the information provided at the hearing and make a written response to the Applicant early next year. At that time the decision of the Board on the application will be final. The board can, however, render its decision any time before that date.
Our message to the Board:
Nothing has changed, STANDING STRONG!
We have your back.
Environmental Stewardship (ES) presented a comprehensive review of previous information provided to the Board, responded to Forestar allegations, and presented new technical information on the application. The new information was from the work of a certified hydrogeologist, George Rice, who was retained to review the technical studies conducted by the District (called Groundwater Availability Model (GAM) files), and extract new information on the impact of pumping large quantities of groundwater on surface waters, the Colorado River, and other aquifers.
Rice’s report concluded: Forestar’s pumping would:
• Reduce hydraulic heads in the Hooper, Simsboro, Calvert Bluff, and Carrizo aquifers.
◦ Where these aquifers are confined, the reduced heads would cause water levels in wells to decline
◦ Where these aquifers are unconfined (i.e., recharge areas), the reduced heads would cause dewatering of portions of the aquifers.
• Reduce groundwater discharge to the Colorado River, thereby reding the amount of water flowing in the river.
It should be noted that this information was not extracted and reported to the Board by the General Manager when he made his recommendations to approve 100% of the applicant’s requested pumping.
Click below for copies of documents:
Environmental Stewardship letter dated December 16, 2013
Link to attachments A, C, D, E, and F.
As reported earlier, Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group, Inc. has requested a contested case hearing on Griffin Industries application for 224 acre-feet of water for industrial use within our District. This will cost Griffin and the District a great deal in both time and money. We believe this is a follow-up on the threat made by Forestar’s attorney Edmond R. McCarthy when he said in his closing comments to the Board just moments before the motion for a rehearing was originally denied, “if you don’t give us our request[ed rehearing], this District has issued its last permit.”