Lee County Water Meetings Pack Houses
Last week was a busy - and crowded - week for the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District. They held two meetings in which they held public hearings about operating and transfer permits for a total of 31 wells in Lee and Bastrop Counties, the applications of which describe four different companies or municipalities seeking authorization to withdraw an aggregate of 114,226 acre-feet of water per year.
One meeting was held at Giddings City Hall on Wednesday, April 17, where more than 30 people spoke during public input, including Lee County Judge Paul Fischer, who said, “I want to encourage the Lost Pines Board to be very careful and to start slowly, allowing a few wells at a time to be permitted for a specific amount of water. Then we can see how it goes. If you give them everything they are asking for, and it injures the aquifer and you start cutting back the amount of water you’ve already approved these companies to pump, then other problems are sure to arise. We need to also remember the individuals who have private water wells on their land that they use for their personal and farming needs. These need to be protected first.”
Thirty-five people spoke at the Thursday, April 18, meeting, held at the American Legion Hall in Giddings. All but one of those who spoke during public input echoed, to some degree, Judge Fischer’s remarks from the night before. Each night, about 300 citizens were in attendance.
What resulted from the two nights of meetings and public hearings is that only one application was approved, the one filed by Manville Water Supply Corporation, for operating and transfer permits for two wells to be located in Lee County, which was seeking authorization to withdraw an aggregate of 3,226 acre-feet of water per year from the Simsboro aquifer.
Three other applications for operating and transfer permits were considered. These were filed by End Op, L.P., Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group, Inc. and Lower Colorado River Authority. These requests were tabled, to be reconsidered at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, which will be May 15, at 5 p.m., the location of which is not yet determined.
End Op’s applications seek authorization for 14 wells, located in Lee and Bastrop Counties, to withdraw an aggregate of 56,000 acre-feet of water. Forestar’s applications seek authorization for ten wells in Lee County, to withdraw an aggregate of 45,000 acre-feet of water. LCRA’s applications seek authorization for five wells in Bastrop County, to withdraw an aggregate of 10,000 acre-feet of water.