HAYS COUNTY, Texas -- A local nonprofit and community members in Hays County got together for a public strategy meeting Monday night to discuss how to protect the Trinity Aquifer and its groundwater resources.
- Permit allows for 289 million gallons of groundwater to be pumped from Trinity Aquifer per year
- Provisions will halt pumping if aquifer falls below designated threshold
- Nonprofit says pumping will negatively affect environment
The Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association, or TESPA, is a nonprofit that is dedicated to groundwater conservation in the region, and organized the meeting because of a recent decision made by the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, which is the government body that regulates groundwater use and permits in the area.
At the end of July, the BSEACD approved a permit filed by the Needmore Ranch to pump 289 million gallons of groundwater out of the Trinity Aquifer per year.
The permit has special provisions that involve regular monitoring of the nearby Amos Well, and require Needmore to stop pumping if water levels fall below a certain threshold.
Despite the special provisions that aim to minimize the impact on nearby wells and the aquifer, residents in the area still feel the amount of pumping the permit allows could have a serious impact on the aquifer and the region’s long-term sustainability.
“In Central Hays County, where we’re located, all residences, businesses, the schools, everyone here relies on groundwater,” said Patrick Cox, a Wimberly resident of more than four decades. “It will, by the district’s own scientific reports, within a five-mile radius, it will reduce well levels more than 140 feet within the next seven years. So this is a serious detriment and threat to not just obviously our groundwater resources, but it’s a threat to everyone’s property out here.”
Cox sits on the board of the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association. He spoke at TESPA’s public strategy meeting with community members and stakeholders Monday night to discuss a plan of action for fighting the Needmore Permit, and any future large-volume permits.
“In addition to opposing this permit, we also want to see a much more in-depth comprehensive study about this area of the Trinity Aquifer, so everyone can understand what’s available, how we can conserve it, and what is really sustainable to keep us, not just for today, but for our children and everybody else in future generations,” said Cox.
Cox says that the Needmore Permit could also have a devastating environmental impact on the Hill Country ecosystem.
“The groundwater here in this part of Hays County from the Trinity feeds all the springs. It’s Cypress Creek, it’s Jacob’s Well, which a lot of people know about, and the Blue Hole area on Cypress Creek. All of that is impacted by the water that these natural springs and creeks and the Blanco River, rely on Trinity Aquifer for. So it’s not just us as private users, it’s the whole total environment here,” said Cox.
Ultimately, Cox says even as the region grows in population and increases development, it is crucial to fight to protect these natural resources.
“We have to look at other alternative sources, and just as importantly, we really need to look at conservation and making people understand how important water is here, and it’s a finite resource,” said Cox.
TESPA is also fighting another permit filed by a private groundwater developer, Electro Purification, to pump 912 million gallons of water per year from seven wells located over the Trinity Aquifer.
Spectrum News has reached out to the legal representative for the Needmore Ranch but has not yet heard back.