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

This just in from Hays County spokesperson LAUREEN CHERNOW:

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to fund $100,000 toward the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District’s (BSEACD) planned new multi-port monitoring well in the Trinity Aquifer near Driftwood.

The well would gather data on the previously unregulated aquifer area that was placed under the conservation district’s jurisdiction last year by the Texas Legislature’s House Bill 3405, which provided no additional funding to the conservation district.

County Judge Bert Cobb cast the only dissenting vote against county funding for the project, saying that while he saw the need for the monitor well he felt that it should be paid for by resources other than from the county.

BSEACD principal hydrogeologist Brian Smith, told the court that the well would allow monitoring of multiple levels of water and water chemistry within an area of the aquifer about which little is known and provide guidance for evaluating large pumping permit requests as the county continues to grow.

“I’ve had a long career in groundwater-related business and lived in this area in the 1950s when quality and quantity of groundwater was hard to come by,” Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant said. “With the new authority that HB 3405 gives BSEACD for responsibility of permitting not only amount but use of water in the Middle and Lower Trinity Aquifer, we need to take advantage of data that can help in decision-making. We may also need to consider requests from other districts for monitor wells.”

“It’s important that we do everything we can to educate ourselves as we go through the many changes Hays County is experiencing,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley said, pointing to the county’s expected continued growth in an area that relies primarily on groundwater for residential, agricultural and commercial use. “We have very little data on water from this part of the county and aquifer, and we need to make sure that we have the information we need to make good decisions.”

BSEACD is expected to provide an additional $50,000 and the Edwards Aquifer Authority $55,000 to the project, which will complement the $355,000 that the Texas Water Development Board is planning to spend on an updated conceptual model of the Hill Country Trinity Aquifers that will be used to revise the Hill Country Trinity Groundwater Availability Model.

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