FROM STAFF AND SUBMITTED REPORTS
AUSTIN — Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District officials have established guidelines for groundwater pumping in a previously unregulated portion of the Trinity Aquifer in Hays County.
During the last hours of their regular biennial session last spring, legislators voted to give the conservation district expanded jurisdiction when alarmed property owners protested prospective large-scale commercial projects over a 170.8-square-mile area. This so-called “white zone” fell outside the geographic jurisdiction of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District and outside the geologic jurisdiction of the Edwards Aquifer Authority, which is enabled to regulate only the Edwards and not underlying aquifers.
During a work session on March 1, the conservation district’s board adopted rules that require more rigorous aquifer testing, an expanded public outreach area and continued monitoring of aquifer levels, general manager John Dupnik said.
“These rule changes would establish a framework to allow for a science-based evaluation of prospective applications, assess the potential for unreasonable impacts to existing wells and the aquifer, and require the necessary measures to avoid those impacts,” Dupnik said. The rules take effect March 24 following a 20-day public notice period required by the legislation.
In October, the conservation district issued temporary annual pumping permits totaling about 812 acre-feet, more than 264 million gallons, to 18 well owners including Needmore Ranch (552 acre-feet per year); Electro Purification LLC (100 acre-feet); Aqua Texas Sierra West (92 acre-feet); the Texas Old Town events center (30.6 acre-feet); Texas State University’s Freeman Ranch (6.1 acre-feet); Chuck Nash Chevrolet (6.1 acre-feet); and Log Cabin Plaza (6.1 acre-feet).
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