Groundwater — the front line
Welcome to the inaugural “Groundwater – The Front Line” column, dedicated to the landowners of Milam and Burleson Counties. The goal is to share news, current events, and opinions concerning groundwater – and the water marketers who are coming fast to move as much groundwater as they can to the urban areas west of us.
In 1998, San Antonio signed a contract with Alcoa to pump 60 million gallons a day of groundwater from our area and pipe it to San Antonio. The project was abandoned in 2005 for several reasons, one being the formation of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District in Bastrop and Lee Counties.
Lost Pines is back in the news in a big way. The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) is finalizing a contract with a water marketer named “End Op” to pump 60 million gallons a day from Bastrop and Lee Counties to areas along I-35 and SH 130 between Austin and San Antonio.
Some of their well fields are only six miles away from another water marketer’s (Blue Water Systems) well fields west of Caldwell – Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District has already issued permits to Blue Water Systems to export 63 million gallons a day of groundwater from Burleson County.
Lost Pines manages groundwater differently from Post Oak. For example, while Post Oak has not denied a pumping permit, Lost Pines will and has. And “End Op” may find it difficult to obtain pumping permits since at a meeting scheduled for Jan. 20, Lost Pines directors will decide whether or not to impose a pumping permit moratorium on large production non-exempt wells.
Lost Pines’ directors cited their mission statement (“to protect the water supply for residents of Bastrop and Lee Counties”) when they discussed the moratorium in December.
The Lost Pines GCD board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Bastrop Public Library Meeting Room – and it is open to the public.
“Groundwater – The Front Line” is a project of the Central Texas Aquifers Coalition, Curtis Chubb and Bill Graham, coordinators.