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

Hays County Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley writes that he will ask the county judge and fellow commissioners to help fund an initiative to “develop the science and monitoring that we need to make informed decisions” about groundwater pumping from the Edwards and Trinity aquifers in Hays County. 


We are blessed in our community to have several different aquifers through Hays County. Every square foot of our county has some relation with these aquifers. These aquifers provide so much to our quality of life, from our basic water needs here at home to the flowing creeks and springs. As our county continues to change, it is essential we understand these assets and manage them properly.

Our groundwater conservation districts are directly responsible for this work in our county. This is the way the state designed it to work They are responsible for conserving, preserving and protecting our aquifers. Now these districts all have some differences, but this is their basic mission. In order for them to do their best, it is essential we have data based off unbiased science for these policymakers to be able to best accomplish their goals. Without science, we are throwing darts at a board and taking risk on our resources. We are also potentially being unfair to landowners. These organizations have done a lot to get closer to this goal but more work is needed.

I believe a way in which the county can help these groundwater conservation districts is to partner with them to help develop the science and monitoring that we need to make informed decisions. That’s why next week I will sponsor an agenda item that will create a partnership, with commissioners court approval, between Hays County, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District and other entities to increase groundwater monitoring and data collection where it is lacking and to support the efforts of the Texas Water Development Board to further develop the science.

You may recall our fight to get House Bill 3405 last session. An important piece of that legislation was the language that stated no project could be harmful to existing well owners. This language was fought hard by special interests, but we were able to keep it in our legislation. It is more important than ever that we have the science and monitoring across our entire county in order for us to know what is going on, so that we can clearly set policy and enforce legislative intent when necessary. This science and monitoring will go a long way toward improving our ability to make sound policy through sound processes.

I look forward to working with all groundwater conservation districts and the state to do our best to manage and protect these precious resources in our county. It is important, as well, that we go through these processes in a manner that is balanced and fair to landowners across Hays County.

I am confident that this science-based approach to policymaking and resource management will improve Hays County for the better.

Commissioner WILL CONLEY represents Wimberley, Woodcreek and western San Marcos on the Hays County Commissioners Court. An agenda for the court’s Aug. 2 meeting will be posted on the county’s website on Friday, July 29.

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5 thoughts on “Commentary: Let’s base Hays County water policy on science, not guesswork

  1. It’s sad to see good citizens, like Will, betrayed by their own ignorance under the guise of ‘science and data’. It’s a power play for the most valuable resource ever – water. Barton/Edwards and all the other WCD’s in this game want to tell you it’s in danger so you’ll give them the power and tax dollars to regulate your resource, your water. THEY WANT ACCESS TO YOUR RIGHTS SO THEY CAN LEA$E THEM TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER! I promise you our aquifers will never run out of water. They cannot – they are NOT UNDERGROUND LAKES! They are an underground chain of rivers which are eternally supplied by rainfall over an obscenely massive area – the Glenrose itself outcrops in Oklahoma! – that’s the size of the Great Lakes! Imagine driving from SA to OK and seeing a lake out your window the whole way!!! And it’s recharged all along the whole way! In fact, it’s forever overlowing in the Edwards, then to the Carrizo-Wilcox, then to the gulf. It would have to not rain a single drop for years across the entire central upper half of TEXAS and southern OK before we see any drop – which is really beyond absurd to even consider. I’ve fixed the entire hill country’s water wells year after year. We’ve written the water levels down on every well for nearly 100 years… and those water levels are exactly where they were when the town you live in was born, in it’s infancy, or hadn’t even been born yet! I’m telling you, it’s a blatant fat lie! They need more data? We wellman are required by law to report all that data – THEY ALREADY HAVE IT! Always have! And, like any resource, they’re constantly jockeying to control it. I see it every day – they close down mom and pop’s well and sell those water rights to the highest bidder in line. God strike me down if i told you, my own neighbors, friends, and family, anything but the truth.

    Will, they’re playing you! They did it to Rose as well, and a long line of other elected officials too! Seek out the truth… preferable not from the mouths of the liars waiting to gain!

  2. It is too bad the comment from SickOfTheLie doesn’t appear to be the satire it sounded like when I first started reading it. I’m guessing they never saw Jacobs Well when it stopped flowing, or talked to well owners when their wells ran dry and they had to re-drill, or visited springs in San Antonio that rarely flow anymore. Groundwater resources, just like surface water, is a finite resource. Over use it and it goes away. Yes, recharge to an aquifer occurs, but when pumping exceeds it (especially during drought times), groundwater levels and spring flows drop.

    It’s disappointing that someone who sounds like they drill or work with wells doesn’t have a very good grasp of how groundwater basins and aquifers work.

  3. Springs are an indicator of an excess of water, where the ground is so saturated it comes out at the surface (or at the outcropping of the formation). Jacobs well, Comal Springs, SA springs… – they all coming gushing right back out again when the excesses return. But that’s equivalent to measuring the level of a flooding river and calling that the base level, thereby declaring anything less to be a drought (?). And as for dry wells, who do you think gets that first call? You? Nope. Here’s how many dry wells I have plugged that have ‘gone dry’: ZERO. Out of tens of thousands mind you. That’s EMPIRICAL DATA, generally irrefutable. There are myths always circulating, can never stop that, but 95% of the calls were just equipment/component failures. The only serious contender to support that erroneous conclusion has been caused by drillers from outside the area who’ve drilled wells during those ‘excess’ periods and stopped once their bits got wet. Simply looking at the neighboring wells you’d find exactly what I have, those few (<10) so called 'dry wells' were drastically shallower than the surrounding wells. That's again empirical data, and over a very large data set. In other words, even if I do have 3 PhD's, that's irrelevant – the empirical data is the overruling factor. Therefore, empirically I rephrase my claim – it's B.S.!

  4. his speech had no information other than to illustrate his ignorance and to placate the republican denial of all that does not meet the desires of his supporters, and their fiscal interests in development. what he has said is crap. i am dismayed that such ignorance is displayed by his obvious inane conclusions. what an uncaring idiot. his motto is “all for me and none for you”.

  5. Will Conley isn’t ignorant – he’s trying to buy votes with your tax dollars.
    His letter and speech in Commissioners Court were nothing but lies. He must have mentioned “forming a partnership” at least 6 times in the hearing and at least once in his letter. The interlocal agreement he actually sponsored, however, makes it really clear (by expressly stating) there is no partnership. He went on and on with crocodile tears about out of area companies coming in to take resources from the people of Hays County. Who is Will Conley kidding? The resources he claims he wants to protect are not within the county’s purview to regulate or protect. EP’s plan was to sell water to areas within Hays County. EP was just the fear factor Conley relied upon to drive people into a frenzy. HB 3405 imposed a second groundwater district on people without their consent or vote of ratification. Despite the hype and fear, EP was not the threat Conley claimed it was and the new law had zero impact on EP’s operations. As far as “out of area” companies taking resources from the citizens of Hays County, one need not look out of are for the politicians responsible. Conley has gifted literally MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to David Baker’s Wimberley Valley Watershed Association to enable the organization to pay off its loans and to bail the organization out of lawsuits it provoked. Conley was also responsible for the American Traffic Solutions, Inc. racket that is designed to financially pillage parents dropping off and picking up their kids from school with an illegal traffic regulation scam. This program ties up and turns numerous county officials into fee generators and collectors for out-of-state American Traffic Solutions. Follow the money. To suggest Conley is protecting Hays County or its citizens from anything is laughable. He’s one of the bigger threats to your property and your rights in Hays County.

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