Sustainable management – not aquifer mining – is the only way to protect our local communities and the environment from groundwater over-pumping!
The “Proposed desired future conditions (DFCs)” that are about to be voted on by the five groundwater conservation districts in the counties listed below are at the heart of this issue. They are members of Groundwater Management Area 12 (GMA-12). We have the opportunity now to make our desires known and re-direct how our aquifers are to be managed.
The clock is ticking on our ability to reject the manage-to-depletion mindset that is imbedded in GMA-12’s “Proposed Desired Future Conditions”. We have a very short time period to raise our voices and require that our water resources be sustainably managed in a way that protects landowners’ exempt domestic and irrigation wells, and the resilience of our rivers and streams to the droughts that are just around the corner. Water, and how it is managed, will determine the future of our communities, our environment, and our rivers, including the Colorado, Brazos, Trinity and the Navasota rivers.
The WaterDefenders.org Coalition of Environmental Stewardship and the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund invite all citizens, landowners, local government officials, businesses, and community organizations to join us in rejecting the “Proposed Desired Future Conditions” and management policies being set for GMA-12, the Groundwater Management Area in which we live.
These are the members of GMA-12:
Lost Pines GCD – Bastrop and Lee Counties
Post Oak Savannah GCD – Burleson and Milam Counties
Brazos Valley GCD – Brazos and Robertson Counties
Fayette County GCD – Fayette County
Mid-East Texas GCD – Freestone, Leon and Madison Counties
Click here for hearing dates, contact information, and instructions
on how to make your voice heard in this important discussion.
Every five years, the groundwater conservation districts meet in their own management area (in this case our area is GMA-12) to establish the DFCs — Desired Future Conditions. This complex joint planning process boils down to something simple. The districts — with or without citizen input — set the rules for pumping the aquifers. Unfortunately, they have based these rules on what water marketers have demanded be pumped, rather than what the aquifers can sustainably supply, in perpetuity. And the damage is already showing up.
For example, the Vista Ridge water pipeline to San Antonio began massive pumping in Burleson County – 50,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year — in April 2020. This 30-year project (intended by San Antonio to be a 60+-year project), has already begun damaging local landowner wells in Burleson and Lee Counties, within just the first 6 months of pumping, talking about thousands of dollars in costs to lower pumps, and in some cases, lowering pumps is not even possible.
Yet, as we write this message, the Groundwater Conservation Districts are ready to set in concrete, controversial, unresolved and unagreed management practices that are imbedded in the currently proposed DFCs. These management practices will protect mega-pumping water marketers without balancing those protections with long-term protections for thousands of people who rely on these aquifers for drinking water and the drought resilience of our rivers.
Worse, the unresolved and controversial new management policies favor the big pumpers by having effectively eliminated the ability of the District where this pumping is permitted to use its management tools to slow down or stop the pumping when damage is imminent, or even when damage is occurring.
While there are technical reasons to reject the Proposed DFCs — which we have articulated to the Boards of the five districts — it is the failure to bring forward, for your consideration, a proposal that is based on thoughtful discussion, resulting in unified management policies that are workable for all the districts, that is at the heart of this matter
We cannot allow the mining of the aquifers under our counties, destruction of landowners’ domestic and livestock wells, and damage to the rivers and tributaries, to become the guiding principles of water management in our region.
Here is a summary of the issues being decided:
Click here for a brief description of these issues
For those of you that want to take a deep dive into these issues, click on the following links:
Impacts of Proposed DFCs on Surface Waters
Management Policies & Practices: The role of non-exempt pumping in developing DFCs
Recommendations for revising DFCs
WaterDefenders ask that you to help us get these Proposed DFCs rejected in favor of DFCs based on:
sustainable management of the aquifers,
protection of exempt landowner domestic and livestock wells, and
sustaining the resilience of our rivers to drought
What you can do!
The districts have until January 5, 2022 to get it right. But, we have less than 60 days to get the Groundwater Districts to change course and protect our communities and the environment.
Here is what you can help us do to get the ball rolling in a new direction: We need to get 2 of the 5 Districts to reject the Proposed DFCs and remand them back to GMA-12 for revision.
- Contact the board members of the groundwater districts and tell them that the “Proposed DFCs” should be rejected and sent back for revision. (Get public notices, hearing schedule, contact information and talking points here).
- Sign up for our newsletterif you are not already signed up, and urge your friends to join us in this battle by taking these two steps:
- Take step 1 above, and
- Sign up for Environmental Stewardship’s newsletter
- Sign up for Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund newsletter
- Plan to attend the hearings, meetings, and rallies that the WaterDefender.org coalition will be organizing in the weeks ahead. Regardless of where you live in GMA-12, you can provide comments before, during or after the hearings.
- Reach Your Local Officials (City and County) to ask them what they are doing about the situation. Ask them to call their Legislators and speak to the groundwater districts too! Tell them that the already permitted pumping has stretched GMA-12 beyond reality, and that the members of GMA-12 have lost their ability to manage responsibly.
- Make a tax-deductible donation to our efforts.
- Environmental Stewardship DONATE HERE
- Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund DONATE HERE
Report back to us or ask questions:
- WaterDefenders.org at 512-545-4779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Environmental Stewardship at 512-300-6609 or email@example.com or its website at environmental-stewardship.org
- Simsboro Aquifer Defense Fund at 512-461-3179, or firstname.lastname@example.org or its website at its website at simsborowaterdefensefund.org