Environmental Stewardship (ES) has for many years advocated for the recognition and protection of the groundwater and surface water interaction that takes place between aquifers and surface waters.  Over the last several years we have had the pleasure of funding from The Coypu Foundation to assist in developing original research information, preparation of reports, and presentation of such reports to regulatory agencies, policy-makers, private businesses and the public.  We have used the services of several professionals to provide “expert testimony” in hearings related to the development of desired future conditions (DFC) for aquifers and permitting of pumping of these sames aquifers by Groundwater Conservation Districts.

The Colorado River – Simsboro Aquifer Connection report was provided to the Texas Water Development Board during the public comments segment of its Board meeting on February 25, 2015 as an attachment to a letter from Environmental Stewardship (click here for letter).

The paper points to empirical data that indicates that there may be a significant amount of water that drains from the Colorado River above Bastrop into the Simsboro Aquifer. According to an LCRA gain-loss study, the Colorado River, which is an overall “gaining stream” in the lower basin, is a “losing stream” in the segment where the river and the Simsboro aquifer intersect between Austin and Bastrop, Texas. Our interest is to call attention to this situation because we believe it points to several public policy issues that require discussion and decisions regarding the management of both of these water resources.

Policy Issue 1: Are we going to protect environmental flows in the Colorado River (instream flows) that provide essential life-support to aquatic plants and animals, and freshwater inflows to Matagorda Bay?  These flows are especially important during drought and extreme drought.

Policy Issue 2: Are we going to recognize the connection between groundwater and surface water and take steps to conjunctively manage these two natural resources as we make decisions and adopt practices regarding the use and conservation of water?

The following reports are available for review on this website (click on title to go to the webpage):

Colorado River – Simsboro Aquifer Connection Report

Role of Groundwater Availability Models in Managing Groundwater and Surface Water Resources

Groundwater Availability Model (GAM) Improvements for GMA-12  – This improved (NEW) GAM is the model that was used in the Lower Colorado River Authority’s contested case hearing where Environmental Stewardship and Brown Landowners were parties.