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2010-08-26 digital edition

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2010-08-26 / General Stories

AWSC Opposes GBRA Simsboro Project

Aqua Water Supply Corporation announces strong opposition to the GBRA Simsboro project. The GBRA Simsboro Project was submitted as a “Recommended Strategy” by the South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group (Region L) to the Texas Water Development Board this month. The proposed project intends to build a 52 mile pipeline from Bastrop & Lee Counties in order to transfer 50,000 acre-feet of water to the San Marcos area. The project is estimated to cost $330,782,000 and would be financed in part by bonds issued by the Texas Water Development Board.

Prior to the new groundwater availability process, Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District issued permits to local users authorizing 43,486 acre-feet/year to be pumped from the Simsboro aquifer in Bastrop County. The currently proposed State Water Plan shows, however, that only 28,000 acre-feet/year are available in Bastrop County. In other words, existing permits already exceed what is shown to be available in the proposed Plan. Additionally, current local usage is increasing. Last year, the total water pumped from Bastrop County was 20,198 acre-feet.

The proposed Plan shows all available water will be needed to support local growth in Bastrop County at the end of 50 years. The GBRA Simsboro Project proposes an additional 30,000 acre-feet/year be pumped from Bastrop County. If this is allowed, more than twice the amount available of 28,000 acre-feet/year will be pumped and the aquifer will be overdrafted. That means more water will be taken out than the amount that recharges. Continued overdrafting will ultimately reduce the level of the aquifer to the point it cannot be economically produced in Bastrop County.

In Lee County, the proposed State Plan shows there is a total of 27,533 acre-feet/year available. At the end of the 50 year planning period there will be 19,777 acre-feet/year available to others after local use. By itself, it appears that there is water availability in Lee County for use by others. However, the Lost Pines GCD looks at the two counties as a whole because the Simsboro aquifer is a single hydrological unit. Based on all of the above numbers, there will be approximately 4,500 acre-feet of water available which may be permitted by the Lost Pines GCD at the end of the 50-year planning period. Given the accuracy of predicting water availability 50 years in advance, Aqua strongly believes that the available water in both counties is fully permitted.

Aqua Water believes that if the GBRA Simsboro Project goes forward, it will significantly and irrevocably harm our Camp Swift well field. This well field currently supplies about 40% of Aqua’s 17,400 connections. Moreover, Aqua believes that if the GBRA Simsboro Project were to proceed, there would be no water for the future XS Ranch development of some 7,400 homes. XS Ranch already has a contract with Aqua to supply their drinking water. From the perspective of Aqua Water, if the GBRA Simsboro Project proceeds, it will completely and immediately stop economic development in Bastrop and Lee Counties. There will be no water left available for local use.

Aqua believes the water needed for our community should not be piped 52 miles south. If you feel the same way, please attend our Central Texas Water Forum to be held September 21 at 6:00 in Bastrop. The exact location will be announced once we get a count of planned attendees. Please RSVP to Frances Langhorne at: flanghorne@aquawsc.com. If e-mail is not available, please call Linda Nietsche at: (512) 581-0705.

For further information, contact Bill Loven at the telephone numbers of e-mail listed above.

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