100 years later, Medina Lake dam still a marvel

100 years later, Medina Lake dam still a marvel

The Medina Lake dam is a huge block of concrete, lodged in a canyon, which impounds a waterway flowing along the border of Bandera and Medina counties. But that description hardly does justice to the enduring edifice on the Medina River, say those behind Saturday’s celebration of the dam’s construction 100 years ago. They see the dam as an engineering marvel that provides water critical to surrounding farmland, safeguards downstream residents from flooding and spawned, among other developments, Lakehills, now…

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Texas House passes bill to spend more than $3 billion to help pay for flood control projects

Texas House passes bill to spend more than $3 billion to help pay for flood control projects

Nearly two years after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coast, the Texas House approved legislation Thursday that would pull more than $3 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to help pay for flood control projects statewide. The House version of Senate Bill 7 is one of three disaster relief bills Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared a top priority earlier in the legislative session. Sponsored by state Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, it combines the Senate version with a House alternative, creating two funds that would provide…

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Local official opposes state water bill in Austin hearing

Local official opposes state water bill in Austin hearing

Last week Boerne’s Milan Michalec, chairman of Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District, was in Austin speaking against House Bill 1806. Authored by Senator Donna Campbell, HB 1806 was the subject of a public hearing in the Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs committee. It is intended to authorize the San Antonio Water System to sell water into particular, adjacent counties. One of only three of the seven committee members were present for the hearing, Dist. 18 Senator Lois Kolkhorst spoke, objecting…

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Endgame: Water for a water district

Endgame: Water for a water district

For well over two years and spanning two legislatures, Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) No. 3 has searched for a source of water. It now appears that a source has been found, but only if the law that protects the Edwards Aquifer can be changed by the same body that created it. When Senate Bill (SB) 1170 was introduced by Senator Donna Campbell, a companion House Bill (HB) 1806 by Representative Tracey King was also filed. This…

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How San Antonio uses its water to influence Kendall County development

How San Antonio uses its water to influence Kendall County development

 Two years have passed since Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) No. 3 was introduced in Senate Bill (SB) 914, by Sen. Donna Campbell.   As written, 1,055 acres were to be developed and more than 2,000 homes built, but it had no source for a water supply.  Boerne City Council considered consenting to creation of the district in early 2019 – now WCID No. 3 and 3A – but members voted unanimously to table the matter indefinitely.  However,…

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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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