Commissioners Pass Resolution Opposing Purchase of Groundwater
Lee County Commissioners passed a resolution this week opposing the plan by the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA) to extract and ship water from the Simsboro Aquifer beneath Lee and Bastrop Counties. In a clearly worded Resolution, the Court has gone on record as supporting the use of this underground water to serve the current and future residents of Lee and Bastrop Counties and not to be transported out of the area to fill needs of other parts of the state.
In passing the resolution, the Court is providing its support for the efforts of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District to verify that the Simsboro Aquifer will have an adequate recharge rate to support the current and future needs of the local area before authorizing the extraction of the water from the Aquifer to other points in the state.
Based on current knowledge, the plans of the GBRA would result in a major depletion of available water in the Simsboro Aquifer.
Keith Hansberger, a Lexington resident and a member of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, spoke to the Commissioners and explained that depletion of the Aquifer could affect land values in Lee County. If land values are reduced by as much as $2,000 per acre because the Aquifer is being depleted, this would amount to an estimated $800 million loss in land values to land owners in the County.
Hansberger said Lost Pines has a moratorium in effect on permitting large volume wells until the Texas Water Development Board releases their report on Managed Available Groundwater for this region. That report is expected to provide updated information on the proposed recharge rate of the Aquifer. Hansberger went on to say Lost Pines will then consider GBRA’s request, as well as the requests of several other large water marketers that want to export water from the Lee and Bastrop areas.
Lee County Judge Paul Fischer noted during the meeting that as recently as last Thursday, the Austin American Statesman reported that LCRA is seriously looking to the area east of Austin for water to ship to the Austin area in order to meet expected future demand.