Needmore's Groundwater Permit Application
House Bill 3405, which became effective on June 19, 2015, created a process where landowners operating a well prior to passage of the law, could apply to BSEACD for a production permit for the “maximum production capacity” of the well. On September 19, 2015, Needmore applied to BSEACD for a Temporary Permit and a Regular Permit to produce 289,080,000 gallons of groundwater a year from the Trinity Aquifer. Click here to read the permit applications.
This volume of groundwater is what Needmore determined is the maximum production capacity of the well on the ranch. On October 19, 2015, BSEACD issued Needmore a Temporary Permit for approximately 180,000,000 million gallons a year, maintaining that this was the correct maximum production capacity of the well. To read more about BSEACD's findings, check out BSEACD's website, which has a time line and links to relevant documents related to Needmore's Permit.
BSEACD has recommended converting Needmore's Temporary Permit into a Regular Permit for 289,000,000 gallons a year. Click here to read the proposed permit. However, BSEACD has issued with permit with special conditions requiring Needmore to reduce pumping based on measured drawdown in the monitoring well.
Needmore's request for 289,080,000 gallons of water a year is excessive. It would cover the 5,000 acre ranch in about 2 inches of water. It is enough water for over 39,000 head of cattle at 20 gallons per day per head. This magnitude of withdrawal is equivalent to 792,000 gallons a day, which would provide for 5,280 households assuming a daily average household usage of 150 gallons a day.
The aquifer test conducted by Needmore's hydrogeologist, Wet Rock Groundwater Services (the same hydrogeologist that works for Electro Purification) resulted in fourteen feet of drawdown from a monitoring well 1.95 miles from the well on Needmore Ranch. BSEACD's own modeling predicts that within seven years, pumping from the well on Needmore Ranch will cause 140 feet of drawdown in the Trinity Aquifer as far as two miles from Well D.
Despite the severe impacts this pumping will have on its neighbors, Needmore argued that BSEACD should not be allowed to require Needmore to reduce production. And even more outrageous is that Needmore argued that nearby landowners should not be allowed to protest the permit. Read more about Needmore's arguments.
On December 19, 2016, TESPA submitted a contested case request to BSEACD protesting Needmore's proposed permit and requested that the case be referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). BSEACD referred the case to SOAH. In a motion for summary disposition, at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), TESPA unsuccessfully argued that Needmore was not eligible to apply for a Temporary Permit under the less stringent evaluation process.
The Final Hearing before the BSEACD Board of Directors is scheduled for July 29, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. City of Buda City Council Chambers Room 1097, 405 E. Loop Street, Building 100, Buda TX 78610.
TESPA will argue at the hearing that the ALJ’s decision was incorrect and that the Board should deny the Regular Permit because Needmore was not eligible to apply for the permit to begin with.
BSEACD will allow for public comments at the beginning of the meeting. Comments will be limited to three minutes, and they may not be repetitive. It is important that the public express opposition to the Board granting the Regular Permit.