Success Reining in Proposed DFCs

WaterDefenders make significant progress reining in Proposed Desired Future Conditions

GMA-12 votes against Lost Pines’ Conservation DFC

Figure 1. Graphic provided to the Lost Pines Board of Directors to demonstrate the concerns and requests from WaterDefenders Coalition (November 8, 2021, based on Scenario S-15)

We want to thank the Lost Pines Board of Directors for taking a strong stand in its recent vote to adopt conservation based Desired Future Conditions (DFCs) for the Simsboro aquifer. At the November 30th GMA-12 meeting we were able to confirm that the District will be able to adopt DFCs that are 10% more conservative for all aquifers as soon as they get certification back from the Texas Water Development Board that the adopted DFC are administratively complete, that their is agreement on the results of the pumping file, and Modeled Available Groundwater has been calculated for each aquifer.

Here is a brief summary of what happened over the last month.

After a major victory for conservation and consideration of domestic/livestock wells and surface waters by Lost Pines GCD Board (see below), the Groundwater Management Area 12 (GMA-12) representatives  voted against Lost Pines’ request at the November 12th meeting.

With the recent victory in hand, WaterDefenders went to the November 12th meeting hoping that all the member districts of GMA-12 would accept the “reasonable” actions taken by Lost Pines. However, we ended up with a decision by GMA-12 representatives that is a compromise.

General Manager, Jim Totten, made a motion to accept a pumping file [Scenario S-20] which would results in a new DFC of 183 feet average drawdown and about 30,300 acre-feet per year of pumping in the Simsboro formation for Lost Pines GCD.  While the motion was seconded by Post Oak Savannah GCD, it failed on 2-3 vote, yay-nay.

A second motion was made to accept a pumping file [S-19] which results in a new DFC of 240 feet average drawdown, and about 82,800 acre-feet per year (AFY) of pumping in the Simsboro formation for Lost Pines GCD. This motion passed 4-1, yay-nay.

However, this is a significant victory for WaterDefenders, stakeholders, landowners and surface waters in Lost Pines District.   Overall, this leaves us substantially ahead when compared to the Scenario S-12 that was initially proposed.  The reductions gained through WaterDefender efforts will result in a 54% reduction in pumping from the originally proposed DFC, and a 31% reduction in drawdown from the originally proposed DFC.

The battle over sound management heats up at GMA-12.

Comparison of impacts of Current DFCs vs. Proposed DFCs on Colorado River. Click on graphic to hear discussion of these impacts by Steve Box at GMA-12 Meeting on April 20, 2021.

Coalition formed to advocate for sound management  – not aquifer mining – as the only way to protect our local communities and the environment from groundwater over-pumping!…

Public Hearing: LCRA Groundwater Permit Application

PUBLIC HEARING 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…

ES Requests DFCs to protect Colorado River and Tributaries

Environmental Stewardship requests Desired Future Conditions be adopted to protect the Colorado River and its tributaries from impacts of groundwater pumping Environmental Impact of Groundwater Pumping on the Colorado River and its Tributaries   Environmental Stewardship’s Executive Director, Steve Box, presented a power point review of its request that Groundwater Management Area 12 establish standards to…

Environmental Stewardship scores partial victory

Hearing on LCRA’s application for a groundwater pumping permit held before SOHA Judges in October, 2019.

We are pleased and grateful to claim a partial victory in the contested case hearing on LCRA’s application for a groundwater pumping permit.   The judges have issued a Proposal for Decision (PFD) that includes the recommendation that surface water monitoring must be done by LCRA as a part of the permit.  See the attached press release and summary of the key findings as they relate to surface waters.   

Environmental Stewardship provides scientific information on local environmental impacts

Environmental Stewardship provides scientific information on impacts on the Colorado River, aquifer formations, and exempt domestic wells. Groundwater pumping in the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer group affects the Colorado River and its tributaries, the Carrizo, Calvert Bluff and Hooper formations, other aquifers, and landowners’ domestic wells.   Environmental Stewardship has been working with George…

Mark your calendars: Hearing on LCRA’s Application for Ground Water Permit

Mark your calendar:  Hearing on LCRA’s Application for Groundwater Permit. October 15-18 and 21-22 at 10:00AM, Bastrop Convention Center, Bastrop, Texas. We’ve been busy preparing for the Contested Case Hearing on LCRA’s application to pump 25,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year from Bastrop County. Yes, we have been missing in your inbox for months now…

LCRA Prehearing Conference on Party Status

Environmental Stewardship and Landowners admitted as Parties

Protestants admitted as parties to LCRA Contested Case Hearing at December 19th Prehearing Conference.

A hearing to determine party status of 127 individuals and organizations protesting LCRA’s application for a permit to pump groundwater from Bastrop County was held on December 19, 2018. The hearing was ordered by State Office of Administrative Hearing Law Judges (ALJs) Michael J. O’Malley and Laura M. Valdez.

Environmental Stewardship and a group of 43 landowners were admitted as parties to the contested case hearing to be held next fall.  Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, Aqua Water Supply Corporation, City of Elgin, and Recharge Water, LP, along with 12 unrepresented landowners were also admitted.  To ensure that all parties have a justiciable interest, each entity and individual is required to file an affidavit no later than February 9, 2019 (Order 2).  Any objections to party status must be filed no later than February 19, 2019.

LCRA Applies for Groundwater Export Permit – Hearing Sept. 26th

LCRA seeks permit for 25,000 acre-feet/yr of groundwater from Griffith League Scout Ranch

Hearing set for September 26th, 7:00 pm, Bastrop Convention Center, 1408 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, TX 78602

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) applied with the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (District) for groundwater operating and transport permits for eight (8) wells, for a total combined maximum annual production of up to 25,000 acre-feet/year on February 21, 2018.   A public hearing on the application has been set for September 26, 2018.

Persons interested in opposing the permit must give notice to the Lost Pines GCD five (5) days BEFORE the hearing —  by close of business on September 21, 2018 — to participate in a contested case hearing on the application.  Friends of Bastrop Water and Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund will be holding a public meeting for persons interested in opposing the LCRA’s pending wells.  The meeting is September 13, 2018 at 4:30 and 7 pm at the American Legion Hall, 303 Loop 150 E, Bastrop, TX 78602.…

Judge Hears Arguments on Landowners’ Right to Protest Groundwater Export, Ruling to Come

BASTROP – A state district judge in Bastrop on Wednesday heard arguments for and against the contention that four landowners are entitled to a new hearing because they were wrongfully excluded by the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District from participating in a 2013 administrative hearing.

The 2013 hearing resulted in a permit  to water marketer End-Op LP (now known as Recharge Water) that allows massive amounts of groundwater to be pumped and exported from Lee and Bastrop counties. The Oct. 18 hearing was part of a legal challenge to that permit.

Judge Carson Campbell ruled in favor of the landowners from the bench Wednesday on the question of whether he even has the authority to review the District’s decision to exclude them. A ruling on the landowners’ right to protest the permit is pending from Judge Campbell.