Lost Pines to Permit 5.6 Times More Water than Available

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This is INSANE.   Lost Pines GCD is on the verge of permitting five and a half (5.6) times more water from the Simsboro aquifer than is available.  The total amount of Modeled Available Groundwater (MAG) from the Simsboro Aquifer by 2010 is 29,556 acre-feet/year per the Lost Pines Management Plan.  Lost Pines is currently considering permit applications for 119,199 acre-feet/yr which is 4 times more water than is available for pumping.  Adding the current 45,365 acre-feet/year already permitted brings the total to 164,884 acre-feet/yr which is 5.6 times the amount of water currently available (without considering Environmental Stewardship’s ecological concerns).  So far, the General Manager has recommended approval of ALL the applications that have been presented to the Board of Directors. See Permit Concerns for copies of GM Recommendations. 

LOST PINES GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT

will VOTE on the following applications at their next Board Meeting

Heart of Texas Suppliers, LP
Lower Colorado River Authority
Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group, Inc. 
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013, 
Regular Board Meeting 6:00 P.M.
Giddings City Hall, 118 East Richmond St., Giddings, TX 78942

 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGS
LOST PINES GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
will hold a public hearing and vote on the following applications
End Op , LP
Manville WSC

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013 
Hearing 7:00 P.M.
Giddings City Hall, 118 East Richmond St., Giddings, TX 78942
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ES files Exhibit Opposing Alcoa Wells

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Impact of Alcoa pumping 1990-1999 on left side of graph.

Environmental Stewardship is very concerned about actions that might be taken by the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors related to the subject well permit application by Alcoa. We believe Alcoa’s wells in the Milam County portion of the Simsboro Aquifer currently impact, and the additional wells will further impact and endanger, the Colorado River and its tributaries and existing permit holders in Bastrop and Lee counties.  Based on the information available, and for the reasons stated below, we oppose issuance of the requested permits.  We further request that Environmental Stewardship be granted an opportunity to provide input at that hearing as an affected party.  Click here for ES letter to Post Oak Savannah GCD.  
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Alcoa applies for 25,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year

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New Alcoa wells (blue dots) in Milam County along Lee County border.

NOTICE OF A PUBLIC HEARING

ALCOA HEARING
RE-SCHEDULED
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
5:30 P.M.
Milano Civic Center
120 West Ave. E
Milano, Texas 76556

Citing concerns expressed by local landowners concerning the recent notices issued by ALCOA, ALCOA today requested that the hearings scheduled by the District, to consider applications filed by ALCOA on March 13, 2012, be re-scheduled for a later date.

Originally, the District had set these hearings for August 14, 2012, 5:30 pm, at the District’s offices. It is anticipated that new notices in local newspapers and to landowners will be issued in time for hearings to be held on these applications at the regular Board of Director’s meeting of September 11, 2012. It is further anticipated that these re-scheduled hearings will be held at the Milano Civic Center, 120 West Ave. E, Milano, TX. Please see actual notices, for actual locations, dates, and times.

The Board of Directors of the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at 5:30 P.M., for the purpose of receiving public comments on the following applications for amendments to existing permits.  If you have a well or spring near the Alcoa site you are encouraged to attend. Click here for copy of hearing notice.

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Environmental Stewardship sues to appeal decision by the Texas Water Development Board

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Bastrop, TX.   Environmental Stewardship filed suit today challenging the Texas Water Development Board’s decision to dismiss its appeal of Groundwater Management Area 12 desired future conditions.  Click here for ES GMA-12 Petition and ES comments to TWDB. Continue reading

Water Board dismisses evidence without explanation

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June 21, 2012 Austin, TX  The Texas Water Development Board dismissed the evidence presented in Environmental Stewardship’s appeal of Groundwater Management Area 12 without substantiating their claims.

“Where we met the burden of proof by providing compelling evidence, the staff has argued that the evidence was either “out of context,” “outside the scope of these proceedings,” or “conflicting and inconclusive”  … without bothering to substantiate the reasons for these conclusions.  We consider this an abandonment of their duty to you … the Board, to us … the Petitioner, and to Texans on both sides of the issues,” said Steve Box, Executive Director of Environmental Stewardship, in comments to the Board.  Click here for ES letter to the board and ES GMA-12 Petition. Continue reading

Water Board staff report favors groundwater districts

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The Texas Water Development Board staff report on the appeal of the desired future conditions of Groundwater Management Area 12 recommends that the Board find in favor of the Districts.   Continue reading

Steward of the Year

Dale Morrison awarded Steward of the Year

Master trail steward Dale Morrison was recently awarded the “Steward of the Year” award for 2012.  Dale has been the driving force behind development of many miles of hike and bike trails in Bastrop County over the past several years.  Working with other Texas Master Naturalists from the Lost Pines Chapter, they have built trails in Lost Pines Nature Trails, the Colorado River Refuge, and are Continue reading

Spring rains benefit Matagorda Bay

REPORT FROM THE FIELD

The rain we got down on the coast in April was a blessing.  It was too late for the oysters for this season but if the water temperature was high enough in the bays, it should have helped the oyster spawn.

It definitely helped the shrimp in the estuaries; we now have a crop that looks better than in maybe the last ten years.  Of course this still remains to be seen, the gulf season doesn’t open until July 15, but still what’s been caught in the bays has looked very encouraging.  A steady flow of fresh water year round is what the bays have needed for quite a while.

Buddy Treybig, Commercial Fisherman, Matagorda Texas

 

Groundwater District Oversight: Bastrop County Judge and Commissioner’s Court

Environmental Stewardship has requested that the Bastrop County Judge and Commissioner’s Court exercise oversight authority with the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.  New rules being proposed by the District do not include safeguards to protect the aquifer from over-pumping.   A recent Texas Supreme Court opinion places oversight authority in hands of the local electorate.  Click here for letter. Continue reading

Colorado River at “Critical” flow standard; Bastrop Wells

The drought is not over in the Colorado River basin and the environmental flow standard for the river at Bastrop is in “critical” stage.  At this stage the LCRA is required to maintain a minimum flow of 120 cubic feet per second at the Bastrop Gage.   Because the rice farmers are not getting water this summer, the flow at Bastrop can be expected to drop to this critical level as soon as the rains stop.  The only supplement will be the Garwood irrigation water right.

You can watch the Bastrop Gage at this link.

I see there are issues with the City of Bastrop water wells.  Most of these wells are “alluvial” wells, meaning they are in the Colorado River alluvial aquifer and are impacted by the river level.  This is the first time since the Highland Lakes were completed that the rice farmers have not received water and so the river is at a historic low point for this time of year in Bastrop (except for the rainfall we have been getting).   We can expect that the Bastrop water wells will be impacted by the “critical” and historic low flow.