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Here's the who, what, when and where you need to know this week about our LOCAL GROUNDWATER! It is big news for all of our central Texas communities.
Wednesday, December 19 at 10 a.m., at the Bastrop Convention Center (1408 Chestnut St, Bastrop, TX 78602) a powerful message will be sent to the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, whose mission is to protect the water supply of Bastrop and Lee counties. The old adage “money talks, all others get 3 minutes” just won’t work for rural landowners anymore!
As many as 100 landowner families from Bastrop and Lee counties could be admitted as official parties to a "contested case" when a state administrative law judge convenes a preliminary hearing in Bastrop. The contested case hearing itself will be heard in Austin next year, at the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
The Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund (SAWDF), also now at: WaterWarsTexas.org, and Friends of Bastrop Water (FBW), join with Environmental Stewardship, to invite the public to attend this historic hearing.
These landowners represent the face of rural Texas, and we must support their work for all our communities.
They are asking the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District to consider their concerns with the Lower Colorado River Authority's proposed groundwater permits.
LCRA plans to develop up to 8 billion gallons of groundwater per year (25,000 acre-feet/yr) from the Simsboro formation of our Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. Eight wells are proposed for Bastrop County's historic Griffith League Ranch under an agreement with Boy Scouts of America. The Scouts inherited the Ranch from the former owner, who was a fierce land and water steward.
The District’s hydrologist has determined LCRA pumping alone will cause water levels in the Simsboro to drop up to 300 feet. We are still scratching our heads over how the Scouts have rationalized this water grab!
We don't believe public comment will be taken at the hearing, but let your presence be your visual message of support for your neighbors who are fighting for all of us. They are helping to protect our private property rights in our groundwater, our aquifers, and our rivers, streams and springs that depend on groundwater.
Others protesting the LCRA permits include the City of Elgin, Aqua Water Supply Corporation, Recharge (formerly known as End Op), Environmental Stewardship, Pines and Prairies Land Trust, and the Circle D Home Owners' Association (as a landowner, not as the representative of HOA members).
Background to this permit battle:
Friends of Bastrop Water, organized by Jeannie Jessup of the Circle D Community, is credited with getting the word out about the LCRA plan last spring. Circle D is on the Griffith League Scout Ranch’s doorstep, with the wells located on the property line.
In July, 2018, FBW partnered with the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund, a central Texas non-profit and IRS 501c3 qualified organization, to hold a series of community meetings throughout the summer and fall.
That effort resulted in a groundswell of opposition to the LCRA pumping, primarily including concerns about negative effects on water levels. When combined with other potential pumping under other mega-permits, the potential negative impacts on groundwater levels, as well as on the Colorado River which depends on the Simsboro aquifer for part of its flows, became more widely known and understood.
SAWDF’s current fundraising campaign to support at least 40 of the families protesting the LCRA permit and its all-volunteer “staff” are being assisted by volunteers from FBW, Circle D, surrounding communities and other organizations. A special thanks to veteran water warrior, Linda Curtis.
Please go to the SAWDF website to donate to this worthy cause!
The picture in this message is a poster that will be available for posting at local stores and venues.
PO Box 690
Elgin TX 78621
PS Even if you can’t stay for the hearing, come by our tables outside the Convention Center for coffee and delicious baked goods at our “Bake Sale Donation”! We’ll be there by 9:30 Wednesday morning. Don’t miss the goodies baked by so many wonderful volunteers – and we thank them, too!
PPS If you protested the permit, and you want to be admitted as a party to the contested case, you are advised to be present at the hearing, no exceptions!