Mine Aquifers – The proposed DFCs only consider the desire to pump as much groundwater as is possible and protect all existing permits without balancing the impacts of the pumping against predicted, unreasonable impact on landowner’s property rights and surface waters, including the Colorado River and its tributaries. Long-term sustainability of our aquifers and the Colorado River requires that our natural resources remain resilient along the way.
Landowner exempt wells – Landowner wells in Post Oak Savannah and Lost Pines GCDs (in Burleson and Lee County, not yet Bastrop County to our knowledge) started going dry soon after the Vista Ridge (Blue Water) pumping started in Post Oak Savannah GCD last April. The Post Oak District had a plan for managing these impacts for their landowners but the other Districts — including Lost Pines — voted to force Post Oak GCD, against their will, to adopt policies that render useless the management rules they had in place. Lost Pines GCD — in forcing Post Oak — appears to be voting against the best interests of the landowners under their jurisdiction in Lee County and Bastrop Counties.
Colorado River drought resilience – The pumping under the Proposed DFCs is predicted to reverse the relationship between the aquifers and the river, an unreasonable impact. The Colorado River, that has historically gained water from the aquifers as it flows through Bastrop and Fayette Counties, will start losing water to the aquifers on an ongoing basis setting up conditions for the river to possibly go dry during drought conditions, and certainly to lose the resilience that enables it to bounce back after drought to be a healthy ecological environment.
Manage to depletion vs. sustainability – The Proposed DFCs set up management policies that will require the GMA-12 Districts to manage the aquifers to depletion — as is being done in the Ogallala aquifer — rather than on a sustainable basis. The Proposed DFCs are reverse engineered to provide the water demanded by water marketers with large permits, rather than the amount of water that can be produced on a sustainable basis without causing harm to landowner exempt wells and the environment.
Dictate management of member districts – See Landowner exempt wells. These GMA-12 policies will require that groundwater districts protect all new permits in the future by adding them to what is demanded regardless of an individual district’s intentions or best interests. Actually, the districts do not agree on how to manage the aquifers and how to curtail pumping necessary, and they should be allowed autonomy in making these decisions. There will be a discussion on this topic at the June 24, 2021 virtual meeting. The agenda and link to the meeting will be published at this website.
Watch the video of GMA-12 Representatives discussion and vote on this vital issue.
Weak vs. strong ability to curtail pumping – By law, the districts have the ability to curtail permitted pumping across all permitted pumping in the district. However, they must have rules in place and special conditions in their permits that enable this authority. The Proposed DFCs weaken this ability.
Bow to threats of lawsuits vs. manage responsibly, as is their duty – The Districts appear to be bowing to the threats by of permittees such as Vista Ridge/Blue Water – source of Vista Ridge water for San Antonio – out of fear. The coalition believes that the Texas Water Code requires Districts, as the State’s preferred regulators of groundwater, to pursue conservation of aquifers through their authority to regulate the production of groundwater.