What’s the Big Wave About Water?
Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, which regulates pumping water in Lee and Bastrop County, has more applications to pump water from underneath Lee and Bastrop Counties than there is water to pump.
Two water marketers are looking at pumping a combined 116,000 acre-feet of water annually from under Lee County, and export it to the Eastern Travis and Williamson County areas. Sustainable Water Resources has said they will apply to pump 45,000 acre-feet of water per year out of the Carizzo Wilcox Aquifer and Blue Water Systems already has the right to pump about 71,000 acre-feet of water per year to export.
However, these two are not the only marketers who have applied to export water from under Lee and Bastrop Counties. The Guadalupe- Blanco River Authority is negotiating with End-Op, a water developing company wanting to supply water to the San Marcos area. Their application is to pump 45 million gallons of water a day out from under Lee and Bastrop Counties.
Joe Cooper, General Manager of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, said, “We have more applications to pump water than there is water to pump. If they all ramp up in the next 10 or 15 years, we won’t possibly be able to dish out that much water.”
The Texas Water Development Board estimates that 73,000 acrefeet of groundwater are recoverable beneath Lee and Bastrop counties each year. Total pumping from beneath the Lost Pines district this year was about 26,000 acre-feet, which was a record year for the district, but still way below the recoverable amount. The Lost Pines District includes the City of Lexington, Dime Box Fresh Water District, Lee County Water, Lincoln Water, the City of Giddings, Aqua Water, the City of Bastrop, the City of Elgin and Manville Water.
According to Lee County Water Supply spokesperson Wade Dane concerning this export of water, “No one is trying to contend the Right of Capture and the need to help our neighbors. However, this issue deserves a conscious thought from all the residents in Lee and Bastrop County areas.” (Dane’s quotes are part of a public notice published on page A3 of today’s paper.)
Alice Darnell, president of Lost Pines said in an article in the Austin American Statesman on November 18, “We can’t discriminate against water marketers and never have, but we want to see that there’s enough water for everyone in the counties.”
“People compare water to oil,” she said. “It’s more like blood, because where there’s no water, there’s no life.”
This isn’t just an issue for Lee and Bastrop Counties. The Carrizo Wilcox Aquifer extends from the Rio GrandeValley in South Texas and into parts of Arkansas and Louisiana, supplying water to 60 Texas counties.