by BRAD ROLLINS
Electro Purification LLC, the Houston-based company whose groundwater pumping plans have roiled Hay County politics, has applied for a permit to pump 100 acre-feet annually from the Trinity Aquifer — far less than feared by the project’s opponents.
The company is one of 21 entities that have applied for temporary pumping permits from the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District under legislation that squeaked through the Texas Legislature this spring. The new law was carried by State Rep. Jason Isaac and State Sen. Donna Campbell at the urging of Hays County Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley and other local officials who objected to Electro Purification’s efforts to develop a commercial well field in an area that previously fell outside the jurisdiction of either the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District or the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District.
Electro Purification’s application for 100 acre-feet is a fraction — less than two percent — of the 5,600 acre-feet that the company has reportedly contracted to sell to the city of Buda, the Anthem Municipal Utility District and the Goforth Water Supply Corp.
Three other applicants seek withdrawal permits for more than two million gallons a year, the threshold for more tests: the Needmore Ranch, between San Marcos and Wimberley, which seeks permits to withdraw 887 acre-feet a year (289,000,000 gallons); Aqua Texas, the water provider for residents in the cities of Woodcreek and Woodcreek North (30,000 gallons); and Texas Old Town, an events center south of Kyle (10,000 gallons).
Two million gallons a year is “the trigger [for] an aquifer test … to verify that pumping the proposed volume will not cause unreasonable impacts to surrounding wells and will not affect the district’s ability to achieve the desired future condition for the aquifer. … The larger the permit, the more extensive the monitoring network for the aquifer test,” conservation district officials wrote in an Oct. 6 newsletter.
House Bill 3405 established a Sept. 19 deadline for owners of non-exempt Trinity Aquifer wells to apply for temporary pumping permits.
COVER PHOTO by CHRIS VREELAND. SAN MARCOS MERCURY GRAPHIC by BRAD ROLLINS.Email | Print