Reality of drought: Sausages, laws and a water district

Reality of drought: Sausages, laws and a water district

Part One of a Two-Part Series – Friday, Mar 29, 2019 From a 1933 textbook “Government in the United States” the author invokes the sage advice of Otto von Bismarck: “The man who wishes to keep his respect for sausages and laws should not see how either is made.” Never before has this observation rung so true as with our local government. Look at what has happened with Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District, WCID, No. 3 in the two…

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The Legislative outlook for Hill Country water resources

The Legislative outlook for Hill Country water resources

This edition of the Texas Water Symposium features lawmakers and analysts looking at current and proposed legislation that will affect water resources and property rights in Texas. Topics addressed include the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, flooding, water well protection, the Texas State Park system, and more. Recorded March 28, 2019 at the Texas State Capitol building. Moderator: Vanessa Puig-Williams, Puig-Williams Law, PLLC Panelists: Larry Bailey, policy analyst for Rep. Kyle Biedermann, District 73 Representative Vikki Goodwin, District 47 Representative Andrew…

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New publication examines consequences of groundwater depletion to agriculture

New publication examines consequences of groundwater depletion to agriculture

COLLEGE STATION — A new Council of Agricultural Science and Technology, or CAST, paper examines the causes and consequences of groundwater depletion throughout the U.S. with a focus on how this will affect agriculture — the largest sector of groundwater use. The paper, “Aquifer Depletion and Potential Impacts on Long-term Irrigated Agricultural Productivity,” was co-authored by Dr. John Tracy, Texas A&M University’s Texas Water Resources Institute director, College Station. Tracy chaired a task force of university and government researchers exploring…

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Could a tug-of-war between two Central Texas counties leave residents without drinking water?

Could a tug-of-war between two Central Texas counties leave residents without drinking water?

Dirk Aaron’s timing was terrible. He took over management of Bell County’s Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District in the summer of 2011, which the National Weather Service regards as the driest year in Texas history. What made the drought particularly difficult was that the less it rained, the more groundwater people pumped. When Mother Nature isn’t watering your yard or your farm, you have to do it yourself. That dynamic played hell with the resources Aaron had been hired to…

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SAWS bills could rise less than planned for Vista Ridge due to developer fees

SAWS bills could rise less than planned for Vista Ridge due to developer fees

San Antonio Water System officials say they are planning on seeking a lower rate increase in 2020 than the nearly 10 percent originally approved by City Council to pay for the Vista Ridge pipeline project, though they have not said how much lower. Gavino Ramos, SAWS’ vice president of communications and external affairs, made the statement about a smaller rate hike in 2020 in response to questions from the Rivard Report following a key vote by SAWS’ Capital Improvements Advisory Committee, which recommends…

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Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the country. But a downside of this growth is that, coupled with extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, many of our existing water resources are becoming overburdened. If trends continue, our water supply will be significantly reduced over the next 50 years, and everything we love about the Lone Star State will start to disappear: the economy, recreation, our way of life. According to the 2017 State Water Plan,…

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Water emerges as ‘the new oil’ in $32.5 million sale of vast Permian Basin ranch

Water emerges as ‘the new oil’ in $32.5 million sale of vast Permian Basin ranch

Toby Darden stomped on the ATV’s gas pedal, carving through blustery winds to reach the far northern corner of his 37,000-acre West Texas ranch. He wanted to show off the crown jewel. This wasn’t the spectacular views of the Davis Mountains or the herds of aoudad rams with their distinctive curved horns. It was a big hole in the ground, the first cut at a well — not to bring oil up but water, the precious commodity of the Permian…

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Trinity Glen Rose District studies impacts of new pumping from the Trinity aquifer

Trinity Glen Rose District studies impacts of new pumping from the Trinity aquifer

Over the past year, the Trinity Glen Rose District (TGR) has been working with a groundwater modeling consultant to take a look at how some projected new pumping from the Trinity Aquifer, exempt from TGR regulations, might impact the water source over time. The District was alerted about a year ago that a new water supply company was planning to possibly withdraw approximately 17,000 acre feet of water (5.5 billion gallons) each year to supply water to developments north of…

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Could groundwater pumping cause the ground to sink? It’s possible, scientists say

Could groundwater pumping cause the ground to sink? It’s possible, scientists say

For the last several years, scientists have warned of the sinking ground beneath cities along the Gulf Coast. Known as subsidence, it’s a strange phenomenon that gradually deflates the surface of the ground as groundwater is pumped from beneath. The threat has been mostly noted in cities along the coast, where underground soils are largely composed of a sandy clay. Central Texas lies 130 miles from the coast, but that doesn’t mean parts of it — Bastrop and Lee counties…

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Cow Creek leader reveals suspicions of WCID creation

Cow Creek leader reveals suspicions of WCID creation

Milan Michalec, president of the board of the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District, will address Boerne’s City Council on Tuesday night to question the propriety of WCID No. 3. Michalec describes shortfalls in the process as “egregious” and “secretive,” and believes that Senate Bill 914, which triggered WCID No. 3, should be repealed. With a single public notice printed in a December 2016 issue of the San Antonio Express-News, SB 914 was filed on Feb. 15, 2017, and later approved…

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