Bastrop, TX May 8, 2013. Environmental Stewardship has requested “party status” in the contested case hearings requested by Aqua Water Supply Corporation concerning the groundwater permit application by Forestar (USA) Group seeking 45,000 acre-feet/year from the Simsboro Aquifer; End Op, LP seeking 56,000 acre-feet/year ; and the Lower Colorado River Authority seeking 10,000 acre-feet/year.
“The goals of Environmental Stewardship include seeking the protection, conservation, restoration and enhancement of the ecological functions of the Colorado River and its associated groundwater and watershed in order to optimize water available for beneficial human and environmental uses throughout the basin” said Eric Allmon in the letter requesting party status.
“By lowering water levels in the underlying aquifers, the proposed applications will potentially adversely impact the level of flow in the Colorado River and thereby impact Environmental Stewardship’s use and enjoyment of its real property,” the letter continues.
Environmental Stewardship is requesting party status because it has not been shown that granting these applications is consistent with sound scientifically-supported groundwater management, nor the District’s own rules and policies.
“Particularly when considered in light of other applications now pending before the District, the applications will violate the Desired Future Conditions (DFC) currently adopted by the District. The strategy for preservation of the DFC set forth in the General Manager’s analysis of the application, whereby the District will reduce permitted withdrawals later after the DFC has been violated, may be well-intended but is entirely unrealistic. Once the permitted entities have entered into binding contracts for the supply of water it will be extremely difficult for the District to reduce the permitted water as necessary to preserve the DFC. Furthermore, the Texas Legislature has made clear that it is willing to consider legislation that would wholly remove the District’s ability to make such reductions in the future. It is unwise for the District to adopt a management strategy that will at best be exceedingly difficult to implement, and relies upon a management tool that the Legislature may remove entirely.”
“All available information should be carefully considered in evaluating the anticipated impacts of the applications on surface water resources, even if that information is imperfect. In the absence of information that allows for the accurate evaluation of impacts the applications will have on surface water resources, the District should delay permitting until the information and tools are available to fully consider these impacts rather than blindly issuing permits and hoping for the best.”