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Water and Boerne: Perspectives from the State Capitol and Regional Water Experts

by David Brown
Chair, Chamber Government Affairs Council

Boerne, TX – August 20, 2012. It’s anyone’s guess. Will the Hill Country be blessed with rains or will we see a repeat of last summer, when Trinity Aquifer wells fell to record low levels and the river’s flow dwindled to almost a trickle? We’re all talking about, reading about it, looking for answers. We already know it’s hot. How will it affect the region and what are we going to do about it?

The Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce, the Kendall County Economic Development Corporation, and the City of Boerne are holding their 2012 Water Forum and Luncheon on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boerne Convention and Community Center. Tickets are $30 with reservations made by September 12 and $40 thereafter.

The 2012 Water Forum’s subject is Water and the 2013 Legislative Session: Perspectives from the State Capitol and Regional Water Experts.

Tommy Mathews from Cow Creek will moderate the panel discussion with water policy experts from the Texas State House, Texas Water Development Board and SAWS:

Representative Allan Ritter is the current Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources and sits on the Calendars and Ways and Means Committees. He is the President of Ritter Lumber Company and has represented HD-21 since 1999. He was elected “Freshman of the Year” in 1999 by his House colleagues and was recognized in 2003 as “Legislator of the Year” by the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas. He has received the "National State Legislator of the Year Award" from the National Home Builders Association and has also been recognized by the Texas Association of Professional Educators and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association. He has also been named "Small Businessman of the Year" by the Nederland Chamber of Commerce.

Ed Vaughan is an attorney in private practice in Boerne. He has been a member of the Texas Water Development Board since 2008, a past Board Chairman and serves as the Board's representative on the Texas Bioenergy Policy Council. His term expires on December 31, 2013. He also serves as a Director of Security State Bank of Pearsall, a Director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, a Director of the Former Texas Rangers Foundation, an advisory Director of First State Bank of Uvalde, and an advisory Director of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust. Mr. Vaughan is a past President, Chairman, and Director of the Texas Lyceum.

State Representative Doug Miller from District 73 is the Chair of the Edwards Aquifer Legislative Oversight Committee. He’s a member of the Appropriations Committee’s Sub-Committee on Business & Economic Development and the Natural Resources Sub Committee. He’s also a member of the Natural Resources Committee in the Environmental Flows Study Group. As former Chairman of the Board of the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA), representing Comal and Guadalupe counties, Doug worked with the legislature in 1993 to help write SB1477, which created the Edwards Aquifer Authority in statute. He was one of the original members of the EAA Board and was its longest serving member. He also worked with Senator Buster Brown in the writing of SB1, which created a new (bottom-up) model for Texas water planning and was subsequently appointed as a charter member of the Regional L Water Planning Group.

Steve Clouse is the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for SAWS, the San Antonio Water System, leading a team of more than 800 water and wastewater professionals providing essential services to San Antonio, the 7th largest city in the United States. Clouse began his career with the City of San Antonio in 1985 working in the analytical laboratory and pretreatment divisions. His positions within SAWS have included operations engineer, operations manager, operations director, technical services director, maintenance director and Vice President of production and treatment.

Panel Moderator Thomas “Tommy” Mathews II of Boerne is President of Westward Environmental Inc. He is a current Board Member of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority whose term ends February 1, 2015. He is a member of the National Registry of Environmental Professionals, Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists, Associated General Contractors of Texas, the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce, Texas Hot Mix Asphalt Pavement Association, Texas Aggregate and Concrete Association, Board Member of the Guadalupe Blanco River Trust, and President of the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District. He is also past President of the Hill Country Alliance of Groundwater Conservation Districts, past citizen representative of the Lower Guadalupe River Water Supply Project Advisory Forum.

The 2012 Greater Boerne Water Forum will showcase Regional and State water policy considerations and look at next year’s 83rd Texas Legislative Session to see how prominent water will be on the agenda. Water availability, quality and cost will be some of the biggest challenges we face in Texas as we try to balance quality of life and growth with policies and practices that are sustainable.

Plan to attend this important discussion by reserving your place at the table with Mary Sue Hurdt, Chamber Events Director, 830-249-8000 or online at http://boerne.org.

The Latest News

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In Cities Across Texas, Activists Battle Billboard Companies

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“The 522 page draft contract for this $3.4 billion deal was posted on-line on September 23rd, giving the SAWS Board and the public less than a week to review a deal that will have far reaching implications for our community, including an estimated 16% rate hike for SAWS customers.” Read more from GEAA. As Margaret Day of the Alamo Sierra Club points out “to be sustainable, aquifer drawdown should be no greater than recharge.” Read this opinion piece from the Alamo Sierran Word.

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Public Forum on Trinity Aquifer, Oct. 7

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Wild Pigs!

Landowner groups and Wildlife Coops – Here’s something worth passing along to your member lists. Wild Pigs are an issue throughout the Hill Country region. Here’s an opportunity to learn from the comfort of your own ranch/home computer. Dial in September 18th to from noon to 1:00. Find out how to access this webinar made possible by the Texas Wildlife Association.

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CARD Hosts a Community Water Meeting September 11

to host a free community meeting this Thursday to discuss why water is an increasingly critical issue, and how we can all be part of improving the outlook. Speakers include Andy Sansom, Executive Director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Steve Clouse, Chief Operating Officer of San Antonio Water Systems, Ray Whisenant, Hays County Commissioner, Peter Newell, Water Resources Engineer at HDR Engineering, and Bech Bruun of the TWDB. Details

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HCA Transmission Line Workshop Generates Crowd

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More news

Upcoming Events

October

October 1 in Austin - No Land, No Water: Tools & Strategies for Conserving Land to Protect Water Resources - Presented by Texas Agricultural Land Trust - Details

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

October 15 in Junction - SLWA Guadalupe Bass Workshop - Details

October 16 in San Antonio - Teaming with Wildlife: The State of Nature in Texas, presented by Compassionate San Antonio - Details

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

October 17-19 in Alpine - Society for Ecological Restoration Annual Conference: Ecological Restoration in the Southwest - Details

October 24 in Utopia - Stars over Utopia - Learn how to protect our night skies and do some stargazing - Details

October 25 in Dripping Springs - HCA's 5th Annual Rainwater Revival! - Details

October 25 in Wimberley - A Whole Farm Approach to Improving the Water Cycle, presented by HMI - Details

See more upcoming events


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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.
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