LCRA’s Groundwater Permit Application
January 28, 2021 at 6-9 PM Hybrid Meeting
Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District’s Board of Directors will hold a Public Hearing on January 28th from 6-9 pm. The meeting will be held at the Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center with a virtual connection for public participation. For the District’s agenda and instructions for participating in the meeting see the PUBLIC NOTICE: click here for a Word.doc with working links on how to participate and here for PDF.
LCRA is requesting permission to pump 25,000 acre feet of groundwater per year from the Simsboro Aquifer. The permit application is opposed by Environmental Stewardship and several other protestants.
We are strongly encouraging public comment via Zoom or telephone. See instructions below.
READ THE NOTICE CAREFULLY ABOUT HOW TO PARTICIPATE AND PLEASE NOTE YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP BY WEDNESDAY TO SPEAK AT THE HEARING –— Contact the District at 512-360-5088 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register as a speaker during public comment or on any agenda item by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, January 27th. Please indicate whether you would like to speak during public comment and/or a specific item on the agenda. Any person participating in the meeting must be recognized and identified by the presiding officer before they speak.
On January 28, get on ZOOM or the telephone line starting at 5:45 p.m. for the 6 p.m. hearing.
PUBLIC COMMENT, limited to 3 minutes, will be taken near the top of the hearing.
We encourage your participation in the hearing, even if you aren’t going to speak — It’s human nature: If you know your neighbors are watching, you are more inclined to take to heart anything you do that affects them. This is your last opportunity to talk to the board members before they deliberate on LCRA, and you may NOT speak to any board member about LCRA after this hearing.
Without you watching and listening to what they are doing that affects the Colorado River, its tributaries, your groundwater and your private property rights in groundwater, Lost Pines board members may not be as accountable or transparent when they take official action on LCRA’s request to permanently remove 25,000 AFY of our local groundwater and export it out of the district. They are allowed to use it in Bastrop and Lee counties but they don’t have to.
Zoom Meeting Link:
Meeting ID: 369 009 0040
Phone number: Dial +1 346 248 7799
Meeting ID: 369 009 0040 #
NOTE: IN PERSON ATTENDANCE IS LIMITED TO: THE LOST PINES BOARD MEMBERS AND SPECIAL COUNSEL, TWO REPRESENTATIVES FROM EACH PARTY TO THE CONTESTED CASE PROCEEDING INCLUDING THEIR COUNSEL, DISTRICT STAFF, A COURT REPORTER, AND ON-SITE OPERATIONS PERSONNEL. DUE TO HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES, ALL OTHERS AND THE PUBLIC MUST PARTICIPATE REMOTELY. ALL IN PERSON PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ASKED TO WEAR A FACE COVERING AT ALL TIMES.
Public Participation and Talking Points
That means, FOR EXAMPLE, they have authority over how much water is pumped in the District, and they can address unreasonable impacts of that pumping on aquifers and surface water, but they don’t have authority, for example, for effects of pumping on endangered species habitat, or other “flora and fauna” issues directly. They don’t have authority over pumping in other districts, but they are able to engage with those districts to figure out things that are going wrong in the region and with our aquifers that don’t observe political boundaries.
Our friends at the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund (SAWDF) supports the efforts of the Brown Landowners; a group of 30 landowners who were admitted as one collective party to the contested case hearing. For more about their concerns please click on the following link:
- The amount of pumping already permitted in Lost Pines District is predicted to have unreasonable impact on our rivers and streams.
- Streams that GAIN water from the aquifers will reverse and become streams that LOSE water to the aquifers within a few decades.
- This reversal will have devastating impacts during dry periods and during drought conditions.
- Many of our streams already go dry during normal dry periods, and many more will go dry during extreme droughts like we had in 2011-13.
Monitoring of the impact of groundwater pumping on stream flow is an essential element of our ability to measure and manage the problems mentioned above.
- Monitoring of surface waters-groundwater interaction is needed to protect our rivers and streams.
- Such monitoring will also help protect domestic wells by putting boundaries on the amount of pumping that is acceptable without damaging our environment and our well water supplies.
- It is important that such monitoring be included in groundwater permits and be an enforceable condition of the permit. That means that if it is not done, and not done right, the permit can be cancelled.
- It is important in permits where there are phased-in increases in water withdrawn that environmental advocates such as Environmental Stewardship, Landowners and the Public have a voice in whether or not requests to increase the volume of water that can be pumped are granted or denied based on the best science available at the time — science that comes from surface water monitoring.
- Vista Ridge is under the authority of the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District, but this is a serious encroachment on Lee County landowners, the Lost Pines GCD, the Colorado River and its tributaries.
- The same hydrological conditions that cause the damage to domestic wells also causes impacts on surface waters — our canaries on the land.
- Vista Ridge is pumping 15,000 acre-feet/year(AFY)from the Carrizo, and up to 40, 835 AFY from the Simsboro. :
The general public can make comments that set the mood or tone in which the Board makes their decision. Here are some general topics to consider:
- conservation of groundwater,
- groundwater rights,
- monitoring of surface water (Colorado River and its tributaries) for impacts from groundwater pumping,
- protection of surface water from impacts of groundwater pumping,
- LPGCD’s duty to “protect the water supply of Lee and Bastrop county residents,”
- The investment landowners have in their water rights/property rights;
- Or other topics that do NOT mention the LCRA will be hard to ignore.