Legislature to tackle adding groundwater conservation district in southwestern Travis County

Across Texas, 100 locally-governed groundwater conservation districts are tasked with regulating groundwater, protecting the groundwater supply and researching conservation methods within their boundaries. However, southwestern Travis County is one of the only areas without a conservation district within the Trinity Aquifer, one of nine major groundwater supplies in the state. Groundwater, which refers to water found under the earth’s surface, supplies about 60 percent of the water used in the state, said Larry French, director of Texas Water Development Board’s…

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Captive deer must retain tags

Captive deer must retain tags

The captive deer breeder industry has spent a fortune over the last four legislative sessions proposing laws to bulldoze prudent regulation of their industry in an attempt to squeeze more dollars out of Texas bucks. Texans collectively own all wildlife in the state. It is called the public trust. The deer breeder industry works much like our driver’s license, where Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sells a permit for the privilege to place deer in small high-fenced pens, inside which…

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Groundwater bills put some officials, residents on edge

Hays County officials are concerned recent legislation filed at the state Capitol could put groundwater oversight within the county at risk for the second time in as many legislative sessions. In 2015, Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, authored legislation that brought an unregulated area of Hays County groundwater under regulation. Now Isaac and Hays County officials are gearing up for a fight against bills that would potentially ease or remove restrictions on pumping water from the Trinity Aquifer, the same…

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Three Bills Aim to Ensure Clean Water Recharges the Edwards Aquifer

Three Bills Aim to Ensure Clean Water Recharges the Edwards Aquifer

State Sen. José Menéndez (D-26) and State Reps. Donna Howard (D-48), and Tracy O. King (D-80) have filed bills that many believe are needed to protect the quality of the water in the Edwards Aquifer. Senate Bill 1796 (Menéndez)/House Bill 3036 (King) and House Bill 3467 (Howard) would prohibit discharge of sewage effluent into waterways in the Edwards Aquifer Contributing Zone. “Protecting the pristine streams in the Edwards Aquifer Contributing Zone for all landowners [and users] is of the utmost importance, and…

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Mason Pioneers Attend Texas Water Day at the Capitol

Mason Pioneers Attend Texas Water Day at the Capitol

  • April 18, 2017
  • News

On March 22nd, past, present and future Pioneers of Mason High School attended Texas Water Day at the state Capitol. Pioneers Board of Directors member and President and CEO of the Texas Water Foundation, Carole Baker, invited the students to be a part of Texas Water Day to learn about our state’s current water issues and pending legislation that would affect our region. This was also an opportunity for these students to meet people who are doing groundbreaking work in…

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Operators take action to darken skies around McDonald Observatory

Operators take action to darken skies around McDonald Observatory

  • April 17, 2017
  • News

Dark skies are surrounding the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory at Fort Davis. And that’s a good thing. The Permian Basin Petroleum Association, in collaboration with the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, recently issued its recommended lighting practices for oil and gas operations in the seven counties that surround the observatory. “We’re very excited,” Ben Shepperd, president of the PBPA, said in a phone interview as he was returning to Austin after hosting the association’s annual golf tournament. “We’ve been…

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West Travis County utility agency to Hamilton Pool Road developer: No water service for added project

West Travis County utility agency to Hamilton Pool Road developer: No water service for added project

  • April 16, 2017
  • News

Although Travis County Commissioners Court approved a preliminary plan March 7 for the first phase of Provence, a proposed neighborhood in the 17024 block of Hamilton Pool Road of the unincorporated portion of the county, the West Travis County Public Utility Agency today shut down future plans for the developer to build out a proposed additional phase of the project. By a vote of 4-0, the WTCPUA denied a request by developer Masonwood HP for an extension of service in…

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How state agency-funded research often tilts toward development

How state agency-funded research often tilts toward development

  • April 14, 2017
  • News

When state transportation officials two years ago dismissed the possibility that endangered songbirds lived in a strip of southwest Travis County earmarked for a major highway, they relied on a familiar tool — environmental researchthey had commissioned. That road, Texas 45 Southwest, the subject of a decades-long battle pitting environmentalists against developers, is now under construction even as a court considers a challenge over how the Texas Department of Transportation conducted its environmental assessment. TxDOT, along with other state agencies,…

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ButterBike visits Junction

ButterBike visits Junction

  • April 11, 2017
  • News

Each spring millions of monarch butterflies leave the mountains of Central Mexico, where they survived the winter, to begin their annual migration north. This spring they are accompanied by cyclist Sara Dykman (age 32) from Kansas who is biking 10,000 miles from the monarch overwintering colonies in Mexico to Canada …and back…with the butterflies. Or as Dykman would say, “Butterbiking with the butterflies.” This week Dykman took a break from Butterbiking to visit Junction Elementary and share her story of the…

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Conversations on Water Heating up at 85th Legislative Session

Conversations on Water Heating up at 85th Legislative Session

We’ve been tracking the latest in water news from the pink dome in Austin. This compilation of some of the most recent developments include conversations around a Hays County ranch looking to skirt groundwater pumping restrictions, a proposed law that would ban developers from piping treated wastewater into streams that recharge the Edwards Aquifer, and a commentary on the importance of protecting our state’s water resources. Bills that would impact a Hays County ranch hoping to skirt groundwater pumping restrictions: Water war boils back up:…

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