CARD Urges Complete Evaluation and Public Meeting
Just east of Wimberley along the Blanco River lies the 5,000 acre Needmore Ranch owned by McAllen businessman Greg LaMantia. This ranch made headlines in 2013 when the Texas Legislature approved a 4,000 acre Municipal Utility District (MUD) within its boundaries. A large part of the ranch lies within the newly expanded jurisdiction of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD).
Mr. LaMantia (Needmore Water LLC) has made application to the BSEACD for a groundwater pumping permit for 289 million gallons (887 acre-feet) per year from the Middle Trinity Aquifer, the aquifer that supplies water to Wimberley Water Supply, Aqua Texas and thousands of nearby private wells. To put this in perspective, 289 million gallons would supply the needs of more than 2,400 new homes, each using 10,000 gallons per month. This is a huge number of homes in Central Hays County.
Needmore Ranch drilled Well D in 2013 and completed a single pump test on it to determine the well’s maximum production capacity (550 gallons per minute). The application to the BSEACD for Well D has no information on the effect that pumping at this very high rate would have on any other private/public wells in the Middle Trinity Aquifer. The application claims that the intended use of the groundwater will be for agricultural irrigation of ranch lands near the Blanco River and Fulton Ranch Road. The temporary application can be downloaded here from the hayscard.org website. See page 39 for Requested Annual Volume.
The land proposed for irrigation totals approximately 320 acres which includes several buildings. If this acreage were irrigated throughout the year, the amount of water applied to the land would be more than 17,000 gallons per acre each week, enough water to support a lush, 320 acre non-native St. Augustine grass lawn (source: Texas AgriLife Service). This is an extravagant amount of water to propose to apply to Hill Country land.
In its Aquifer News email Oct. 6, BSEACD listed the Needmore request as one of four new large pumping requests they have received. “The larger the permit, the more extensive the monitoring network for the aquifer test,” BSEACD said. BSEACD also said: “We will be looking for willing well owners near the Needmore Ranch to serve as monitoring sites to establish baseline conditions during the aquifer test.” Well owners near the Needmore Ranch willing to help with monitoring should register their well by clicking the “Well Registration Quicklink” at www.bseacd.org.
CARD believes that the Needmore application, and all large groundwater pumping applications, should be carefully examined by the BSEACD. If the facts related to the proposed use of this groundwater lead the BSEACD to conclude that such an exorbitant rate of irrigation would constitute “waste of groundwater,” then pursuant to their rules they could and should deny the permit.
Citizens are urged to contact the Regulatory Staff and Board Members of the BSEACD and request a full and complete evaluation of the permit and a Public Meeting before any action is taken toward approval of this requested permit. The BSEACD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– CARD Steering Committee
(Note: Archives and more information are available on hayscard.org)