COVER: Some interests in rural communities like Giddings — aided by sophisticated and connected environmental groups in Austin and San Marcos — are resisting efforts to allow large-scale pumping of water from the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. LEE COUNTY COURTHOUSE PHOTO by BRAD ROLLINS. MERCURY PHOTO ILLUSTRATION.
The meeting will be held 10 a.m. Monday, April 14 at the Williamson County Jester Annex, 1801 East Old Settlers Road in Round Rock.
For decades, politicians, planners and privateers have peered into the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer and seen the region’s limitless potential reflected in subterranean water. But the huge capital costs and political peril of moving massive quantities of water west via a cross-county pipeline have thus far rendered the Carrizo-Wilcox little more than an unyielding wishing well into which pennies — and dollars by the tens of millions — seem to quietly disappear below the surface. Now elected officials, chief among them Hays County Judge Bert Cobb, hope a regional alliance of counties can finally tap the Simsboro.
In October, Hays County signed a five-year contract with Austin-based Forestar Real Estate Group Inc. to lease up to 45,000 acre-feet of water a year, enough for 237,712 people based on the average gallons-per-capita figure used by the Texas Water Development Board for state planning. The cities of San Marcos, Kyle and Buda and the Canyon Regional Water Authority, organized as the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency, have had their own effort underway for nearly a decade to pump and pipe water from Caldwell and Gonzales counties, which sit atop a different section of the sprawling Carrizo-Wilcox.