To protect groundwater, we need a sustained fight

The Austin American Statesman reports that State Representative Isaac is committed to fighting legislation that would provide special protections to Needmore Ranch and undermine House Bill 3405.

"LaMantia has asked to pump water at a rate of 550 gallons per minute — enough water to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool every 20 hours."

It is excellent news that Representative Isaac is fighting to stop one landowner from plundering a resource that other people own and all of us need. We need to band together and stop these bills, but we also need to band together and take action to change groundwater laws in this state--laws which are designed to protect a landowner's right to produce groundwater rather than conserve it.

When these bills die, Needmore's proposed permit at BSEACD will still be pending, and TESPA is the only organization taking legal action to protect groundwater in Hays County. When the EP crisis went away, TESPA did not. We participated in BSEACD's House Bill 3405 rule making along with Needmore and EP's attorney to ensure that BSEACD's rules were as protective as possible, we urged BSEACD to deny Needmore's temporary permit last year as we believe the application misrepresented facts, and we are defending the rights of landowners near Needmore Ranch through the the contested case process who fear that their water will disappear. BSEACD has projected that pumping at the rate Needmore has requested will cause 140 feet of drawdown in seven years in wells almost two miles away, and TESPA does not believe the special conditions BSEACD has placed in the proposed permit (which Needmore is adamantly against) are protective enough.

While we must react to a crisis, we need sustained action as well, and TESPA is committed to protecting the Trinity Aquifer over the long haul. Please consider making a donation to stop Needmore Ranch, but to also ensure there is a group dedicated to protecting your groundwater in the future.

Photo: Montesino Ranch, David Parsons Images