Hill Country residents are encouraged to participate in Regional Water Planning

  • September 9, 2015
  • News

Hill Country regional planning groups have completed drafts of their portions of the 2017 State Water Plan, and now is the time to review and make public comments.  

These plans are essentially lists of water supply strategies intended to accommodate growth projections (demand). The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) has submitted detailed comments and we encourage others to participate in this important process.

 

Hill Country residents are encouraged to participate in Regional Water Planning

Water planning in Texas is designed for local participation and our planning communities are currently accepting comments to the new Regional Water Plan.

Hill Country regional planning groups have completed drafts of their portions of the 2017 State Water Plan, and now is the time to review and make public comments.

In order to help protect the natural resources of our region, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) has reviewed the Hill County’s draft Regional Water Plans and made comments on many aspects of these important documents. We have recommended specific policy shifts, commented on specific water management strategies, recommended additional educational and research opportunities, and urged each of our three planning groups to frame the plan in such a way that the entire Hill Country’s water resources remain robust and sustainable.

One over-arching HCA message is to prioritize long-term water resource conservation. Some of the key points HCA addresses in these comments are:

  • Create a set of over-arching guiding principles to the Regional Water Plans that will protect the sustainability and health of our water systems
  • Foster a plan where innovative water-neutral systems and rainwater harvesting would be prioritized over business as usual, and expensive 19th century infrastructure strategies
  • Protect our local aquifer systems that provide for a healthy environment and economy by investing in much needed groundwater science.

Planning for the state’s overall water use and management is an ongoing and complicated process. All of the water that we use in Texas must be budgeted in the State Water Plan. Texas’s State Water Plan is the result of a revolving five-year planning process and is based on the population projections over a 50-year planning horizon.

Our state’s water plan is a “bottom-up” process that consists of 16 regional water plans created by Regional Water Planning Groups  that are made up of representatives from designated stakeholder groups in that region. Stakeholders from these water user groups include representatives from municipalities, agricultural irrigators, manufacturers, livestock, mining, and steam-electric power generators.

At the end of each five-year regional water planning cycle, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) compiles each region’s water plan and other resources to develop the State Water Plan, which is presented to TWDB’s governing Board for approval. The final plan is then sent to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Texas Legislature for adoption.

Before these regional water plans are submitted to the TWDB for final adoption, they must be published in draft form and reviewed by the public. Your regional planning group must read, consider, and respond to all public comments.

The Hill Country is served by three regional water planning groups that roughly correspond with our river basins:

  • The Plateau Water Planning Group in Kerrville (Region J) serves the southwestern Hill Country including the Upper Guadalupe, Nueces, Frio, Medina, and Sabinal Rivers
  • The Lower Colorado Regional Water Planning Group in Austin (Region K) serves the Llano, Pedernales and Lower Colorado Rivers including Onion, and Barton Creeks
  • The South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group in San Antonio (Region L) serves the Nueces, Guadalupe, Blanco, San Marcos, and San Antonio Rivers including Comal and San Marcos Springs

Find a map of your specific Region, and your Region’s draft Plan and please share your thoughts on the plans that will affect the future of the water resources in your Region.                                                                                                                `

Written comment addresses and deadlines are:

Region J (Upper Guadalupe River):
By 5:00 P.M. on September 21, 2015
Mr. Jonathan Letz, Chairman
Plateau Water Planning Group (Region J)
700 Main Street, Ste. 101
Kerrville, TX 78028

Region K (Colorado River basin including the Pedernales and Llano Rivers):
By September 15, 2015
Chris Hoelter
P.O. Box 220
Austin, TX 78767

Region L (Lower Guadalupe/San Antonio Rivers including Comal Springs and the Nueces River system):
By 5:00 PM August 14, 2015 (unfortunately passed, HCA’s comments were received)
Steven J. Raabe
P.O. Box 839980
San Antonio, Texas 78283-3692