San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 16th, 2009
Aquifer district declares moratorium


Local draught conditions have led a local water board to back off from allowing new applicants to drill straws into the Barton Springs portion of the Edwards Aquifer.

The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BS/EACD) is declaring a temporary moratorium on granting applications that could lead to additional withdrawals of groundwater from the Barton Springs portion of the Edwards Aquifer.

The BS/EACD permits ground water usage in southern Travis County and in Hays County to as far south as Kyle.

The Board of Directors for BS/EACD voted on April 9 to impose the moratorium on the filing and accepting of applications for production permits, transport permits and well development authorizations for withdrawing additional freshwater from the aquifer within BSEACD jurisdiction.

Said BS/EACD General Manager Kirk Holland, “While this moratorium was not a direct consequence on the District’s current Critical Stage Drought, taken together the drought and moratorium indicate that the Board is very concerned about the future condition on the aquifer.”

Continued Holland, “They should be considered an indication that the water supply of some groundwater users in our community may be in serious jeopardy in the near future.”

The moratorium, which is already in effect, will extend until the desired future conditions are defined by an ongoing planning process, the Managed Available Groundwater (MAG) applicable to the aquifer is established by the Texas Water Development Board and the District adopts rules to implement them, or until September 1, 2011.

The portions of Hays and Travis Counties within the jurisdictional authority of the District are experiencing rapid growth, which is placing an increasing demand on aquifer resources before the applicable MAG and its responsive regulatory program are in place. The District is currently in a sustained Critical Stage Drought and may be approaching an Emergency Response Period this summer, even with only the currently authorized, managed withdrawals of its existing permittees.

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