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GMA 9 - Deciding the future condition of our springs and drinking water supply

Conservation districts are working together to manage shared aquifers through Groundwater Management Areas (GMAs). Most of the Hill Country falls in GMA 9. A process is under way to establish “desired future conditions” as mandated by the state. These goals will be used in setting water management plans for groundwater conservation districts. The bulk of the Hill Country has been designated a “Priority Groundwater Management Area,” or PGMA, because it is expected to encounter critical shortages in the near future.

More news and resources about Hill Country groundwater resources here. The deadline for GMA 9 to deliver DFC Desired Future Conditions goals to the Texas Water Development board is September 1st, 2010.

The next meeting of GMA 9 will be held July 26th in Boerne. The meeting will take place at 10:00 am the Boerne High School Auditorium located at 1 Greyhound Lane. Download a copy of the agenda.

Groundwater Management Area 9 (click on map to enlarge)
The Texas Hill Country region held three public meetings in June to discuss the draft DFC (Desired Future Condition).

In recent weeks, groundwater specialists and citizens have been submitting comments to help guide the GMA 9 DFC process. Decisions being made now will affect the future of our drinking water supply, spring flow, the health of our creeks, rivers and streams and the life and economy of the Hill County for future generations. We will continue to gather and monitor public comment here.

As HCA Advisor David K. Langford tells us often, “The future belongs to those who show up.”

Written comments can be sent to: Ronald G. Fiesler manager@blancocountygroundwater.org PO Box 1516 Johnson City, TX 78636 FAX 830.868.0376

Background information about the GMA 9, Desired Future Conditions planning process

“GMA-9 plays a critical role in determining the future of the Texas Hill Country. "DESIRED FUTURE CONDITIONS" is a phrase that participates in a kind of vision we have for this region, this place where we live and which we care for. The presence of clear flowing water in our streams is critical to both land values and our quality of life.” Jack Hollon, former Hays-Trinity GCD Board Member, current president of the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association.

The full text of Jack Hollon’s comments which call for no additional drawdown of the aquifer here.

“In its October report to Governor Perry, the Drought Preparedness Council provided the widespread impact of low groundwater levels in the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer system and its river basins. “Medina and Canyon Lakes reported new record low levels and Lake Travis remained at its third lowest level on record. Victoria saw enough improvement in reservoir levels to drop Stage 2 watering restrictions. However, the Edwards Aquifer remained low, causing San Antonio to remain in Stage 2 restrictions, while Kerrville continued Stage 3 restrictions.” As it is the springs of the Edwards Group of the Edwards-Trinity Plateau Aquifer that feed the headwaters of the Medina and Guadalupe Rivers, this serves well to illustrate their relevance in Edwards-Trinity Aquifer system. “ Milan J. Michalec Director, Precinct 2, Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District

Full text of Milan Michalec’s comments.

“Nobody's well nowhere in Bandera County will see a rise in level because of increased pumping. Nobody's spring nowhere in Bandera County will see an increase in flow because of increased pumping.

How much your well level goes down due to increased pumping varies considerably depending on where you live. Thus it is very misleading to talk about "average" aquifer drawdown. The "average" comes from summing up areas which will see little drawdown with areas that will see drawdown several times the "average." Count on this. Everybody's well level will go down, at least some, with increased pumping. It's only a question of how much. If you had well problems during last year's drought, then your problems will only be worse when the next drought comes around.

The story on springs is similar. Whether your spring will see reduced flow or even dry up due to increased pumping depends very much on where you live. Count on this. The spring that ran when you were a child and has now dried up is not coming back.” Lee Kneupper, Bandera, Texas

Full text of Lee Kneupper's Comments.

“I challenge your assertion that DFC’s can only apply to an aquifer. In Hays County the karstic geology, climatology, and topography connect surface and groundwater uniquely and inseparably so that a failing aquifer is readily apparent in diminished spring and stream flows. The public can IMMEDIATELY SEE THE FAILURE OF OVERPUMPED AQUIFERS as springs and streams dry up while falling water well levels remain hidden underground and out of sight and mind until it is too late.” David Glenn, P.G. 5525, Wimberley, Texas “WATER is the elixir that makes the Hill Country magic”

Full text of David Glenn’s comments.

"This process is supposed to be about agreeing on a "Desired Future Condition" (DFC) for the aquifer. To a great extent the process has devolved into one of adopting the perceived "Inevitable Future Condition" (IFC) based merely on population growth projections, expected demand and estimates of a regional water budget model. This was not the intent of the law but working through and publicizing the IFC may be all that is politically achievable at this time. The intent of the process was for the stakeholders to make a conscious decision about the future conditions of the aquifer not to merely make a decision just to accommodate growth projections to avoid making tough decisions." Andrew Backus, former director HTGCD

Full text of Andrew Backus' comments

“There is special concern about the potential impact of the DFC selected at your meeting on Jacobs Well and Cypress Creek causing irreparable economic and environmental damage to the Wimberley Valley, Hays County Texas”.

Full text of David Glen's comments

Summary of Comments

A summary of total public comments received as of June 30th, 2010 tallied by Ron Feiseler, GMA 9 Coordinator.

A summary of oral public comments.

A summary of written public comments.

The TWDB rules specify that the board presidents of the GCDs comprising the GMA are those who have a vote. The drill for GMA-9 has been and is for the GCD board presidents to be instructed by their respective boards on how to vote. A two thirds vote is required to approve a DFC.

GMA-9 has a "coordinator," Ron Fieseler who is general manager of Blanco-Pedernales GCD. His email is manager@blancocountygroundwater.org. He has presided at the GMA-9 meetings.

Here are the likely voters for GMA-9

- Jim Chastain, Board President Bandera RA&GCD (email address restricted at his request)

- Neill Benford, Board President Blanco Pedernales GCD neill@rice.edu

- Brad Groves, Board President Trinity Glen Rose GCD BRAD.GROVES@ttisg.com or George Wissmann g.wissmann@trinityglenrose.com

- Tommy Boehm, Board President Medina County GCD or Luana Buckner h2olu@sbcglobal.net

- Jimmy Skipton, Board President Hays Trinity GCD jimmyskipton@gmail.com

- Bob Larsen, Board President BSEACD rlarsen@bseacd.org or Brian Hunt brianh@bseacd.org

- Tommy Mathews, Board President Cow Creek GCD tmathews@westwardenv.com

- Somebody from EAA. Probably EAA Board President Luana Buckner h2olu@sbcglobal.net

- Diane McMahon, President Headwaters GCD goodwater@stx.rr.com

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October 7 in Canyon Lake - Public Forum on Trinity Aquifer, presented by The League of Women Voters Comal Area - Details

October 8 in San Antonio - Water Forum V: A regional forum on our future - Details

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October 16 in Boerne - Hill Country Agri-land workshop - Details

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Imagine a place where vibrant communities draw strength from their natural assets to sustain their quality of life. A place where citizens care about protecting the special qualities of a region – their region. A place where people and partners band together to envision a better economic future, tackle shared challenges and care for the natural, scenic, and recreational resources that define the place they call home.
~This is a Conservation Landscape

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