Groundwater Ownership in Texas

Groundwater is an integral part of the land, and private landowners have a vested ownership interest in the groundwater below the surface of their land. The Texas Constitution and more than 100 years of case law support this position. Secure, protectable property rights best assure conservation and stewardship of all resources, including groundwater. Not only does this provide the landowner a right to produce, but it ensures the ability to conserve groundwater if there is no rush to produce under…

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Groundwater withdrawals may be the cause of disappearing streams in the mid-west (and here!)

Groundwater withdrawals may be the cause of disappearing streams in the mid-west (and here!)

Keith Gido, professor of biology, and Josh Perkin, a Kansas State University alumnus, recently published “Groundwater declines are linked to changes in Great Plains stream fish assemblages” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research maps the loss of stream habitat for many small fish in the Great Plains region and attributes it to declining groundwater sources. “This is one of the first examples that links groundwater depletion to changes in the biotic communities of the river,” Gido…

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TESPA Granted Standing

TESPA Granted Standing

The SOAH administrative law judge recently granted the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association standing to contest Needmore Water, LLC’s proposed permit before the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. Many landowner members of TESPA near Needmore Ranch testified about their concern regarding Needmore’s proposed permit and plan to pump over 289,000,000 gallons a year from the Trinity Aquifer. TESPA’s hydrogeologist, Doug Wierman, testified that the proposed permit will potentially impact existing wells… Read more from TESPA

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From the Archives – Silent springs: is it too late to save Hill Country water?

From the Archives – Silent springs: is it too late to save Hill Country water?

Texas Observer (2009) In 2000, Jacob’s Well stopped flowing for the first time in recorded history. Its source sapped, Cypress Creek came to a trickle in Wimberley, and the state added it to a list of streams with impaired water quality. “I think it was a big wake-up call for the community,” Baker says. “If the well is the canary in the coal mine for the aquifer, then the canary was choking and about dead.” The spring ceased flowing again…

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Opinion: Conroe’s groundwater legal fight accelerates rate increases

Opinion: Conroe’s groundwater legal fight accelerates rate increases

When local groundwater production fees rise soon, a major cause of higher water bills will be the relentless City of Conroe-led litigation which challenges the authority of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District to impose water production limits on large-volume water users and others. Conroe’s taxpayer-funded litigation against the district — with the mission to ensure sustainable, cost-effective water supplies for Montgomery County’s current and future needs — forced the district to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal…

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Could landowners switch groundwater districts?

Could landowners switch groundwater districts?

As House Bill (HB) 4122 passed the Texas House of Representatives on third and final reading, State Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) said he is afraid the bill will “set a bad precedent” for groundwater protection in the future. Isaac said the controversial bill, which passed by a 112-30 vote in the Texas House May 8, would allow large landowners with more than 1,000 acres that straddle more than one groundwater conservation district to switch over to just one district.…

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Conservation, Not Growth, Should Guide Water Restrictions

Conservation, Not Growth, Should Guide Water Restrictions

The recent City Council kerfuffle over year-round watering restrictions should not be the end of the matter. The current San Antonio Water System rate structure encourages wasting water by subsidizing large water users. This amounts to a tax on ordinary people to pay for water projects that do not benefit them. A close look at residential water use and the rate structure shows that SAWS is going down the wrong road. Outdoor water use accounts for about one-third of SAWS’ water…

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HB 4122 Final Committee Substitute

HB 4122 Final Committee Substitute

On Thursday, April 27th, the House Natural Resources Committee passed House Bill 4122 out of Committee at a formal meeting at Chairman Larson’s desk on the House floor. The introduced version of this bill allowed a landowner with 1,000 acres or more and within the jurisdiction of two or more groundwater conservation districts to petition the districts to transfer into one district if the districts agree to the transfer. After the hearing, in which many landowners testified against the bill,…

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Lawmakers working to create special districts to fuel Boerne-area growth

Lawmakers working to create special districts to fuel Boerne-area growth

Developers behind two large subdivisions proposed in Kendall County are asking the Legislature to create a pair of special districts to help finance construction of roads and other infrastructure. Some residents are upset over not being alerted earlier by state and local officials who knew of the legislation since the start of the year. Worries about new growth hastening the depletion of groundwater in Kendall County were tempered by word the developers are exploring out-of-county water sources rather than drilling…

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Legislature considering special use water district

Legislature considering special use water district

Jessica Goode | Boerne Star | Slipping in with the proposition of a new development, another special purpose water district is on the Texas legislative floor. If it passes, Senate Bill 914, sponsored by Republican Senator Donna Campbell, will create the Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District No. 3 and grant a limited power of eminent domain, provide authority to issue bonds and authorize the imposition of assessments, fees and taxes. The Biedenharn Ranch, off Scenic Loop Road, is…

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