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next WPA Meeting

(2nd Tuesday of every month)

Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013

7:30 PM

Elks Lodge, Gonzales TX
- Open to the Public -

Special presentation:

"Water Conservation Presentation"
>> Current Agricultural and Urban Landscape Management Practices <<
Dr. Guy Fipps, Professor & Irrigation Specialist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Sponsored by Water Protection Association
Gonzales County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


PLEASE NOTE:

Our mailing address has changed!

Our new address is:

PO Box 2026 - Gonzales  TX  78629

We regret any inconvenience this may have caused and any mail that may have been returned to you...




News

 NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING AND PUBLIC HEARING
OF THE GONZALES COUNTY UNDERGROUND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT

Monday, May 23, 2011 at the Gonzales County Court House
District Court Room, 414 Saint. Joseph St., Gonzales, Texas 78629
commencing at 1:00 p.m.

The following information is from the GCUWCD agenda for their special meeting and public hearing agenda for Monday, 5/23/11:
“The Board of Directors (Board) of the Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District (GCUWCD) will hold a special meeting and public hearing on Monday, May 23, 2011 at the Gonzales County Court House, District Court Room, 414 Saint. Joseph St., Gonzales, Texas 78629 commencing at 1:00 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to receive public comment and consider the requests for a contested case hearing related to the permit applications described … (Canyon Regional Water Authority (CRWA), …for 6 new wells at 500 gallons per minute per well,…and upgrading 4 current wells to 500 gallons per minute per well…The existing pump station is capable of transporting the 7.400 acre feet of water per year requested by CRWA; Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency (HCPUA) for fifteen (15) new water wells…HCPUA proposes to produce approximately 10.300 acre feet of water per year…at an average rate of approximately 447 gallons per minute per well; Texas Water Alliance Limited (TWA)…to drill and produce thirteen (13) new water wells…to produce approximately 15.000 acre feet of water per year…at an average rate of approximately 715 gallons per minute per well…After allowing all persons who timely submitted written requests for hearing to offer evidence and after considering whether the person's previously filed request for a contested case proceeding has raised significant issues related to the applications within the jurisdiction of the District, the Hearing Examiner will present a recommendation to the Board on party designation and contested case status The Board will then consider and act on the recommendation and take other actions relating to the application as may be listed on the meeting agenda. During this meeting and hearing, the Board will not discuss or take action regarding the approval or denial of the applications…[The meeting/public hearing agenda includes] Public Comments on applications of Canyon Regional Water Authority, Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency and Texas Water Alliance.”

It was revealed at the last board meeting that $60000 of the mitigation fund has already been used to deal with the impact of existing exportation on current residents’ wells, and the mitigation manager position is $45,000/year which is clearly not a part-time position. Since the mitigation fund is already being  spent, it is evident that EXISTING pumping is already harming the district, without these ADDITIONAL PERMITS that are being sought.

It is clear that the GCUWCD is not protecting the water supply for the residents and businesses in the area.

There are significant concerns about the water situation as it is due to the current drought as expressed in the Austin Statesman (“Lingering drought, rising fears”  Wednesday, May 18, 2011 - http://www.statesman.com/news/local/lingering-drought-rising-fears-1483918.html). “The Lower Colorado River Authority on Wednesday sounded the alarm about the current drought, now in its eighth month, and called on its customers to conserve water as summer approaches and the drought intensifies. "We are very concerned, because this drought looks as if it may be one of the most severe we've seen in decades," LCRA General Manager Tom Mason said…Could rank among the top five ever if dry conditions persist. The worst drought on record was from 1947-57.”

San Antonio Express News (“Rain a relief, not a solution” - Tuesday, May 17, 2011) "Rain fell over a large swath of South and Central Texas last week, providing slight relief from a drought that had agricultural officials fearing the nation's third-largest agricultural powerhouse would have scant farm and ranch output this year…Ranchers have been selling off cattle to avoid high feed costs as the drought worsened, officials said.” Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Rain-a-relief-not-a-solution-1383746.php

The Gonzales Cannon reported (“GCUWCD sets date for public comment on contested cases” - May 12, 2011) “During the Manager’s Reports, Sengelmann noted that current water transporters in the district were operating far below approved capacity, but also noted that the region in which the district resides has been classified as an area of “severe drought.” http://www.gonzalescannon.com/node/4948

We currently have a burn ban in place, as do 196 Texas counties. http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/decban.png  We are listed as a moderate fire danger risk area. http://webgis.tamu.edu/tfs/rawsd/rawsd.png ...If we have a spreading fire will there be enough water left to protect property and residents?

By now there should be no doubt in your mind that the GCUWCD is selling out local residents and businesses in favor of exporters. 

We hope you ALL plan to attend this hearing and voice your opposition to further exportation - especially since residents are already facing problems from the existing exportation permits!



A local landowner on the east side of the county, Ted Boriak, has been organizing an effort to stop the massive exportation of water from his local area. If you live in the affected area you should have received written notices about the TWA permit applications in that area. Ted has put up a website at:

www.texaswaterrights.org

It includes reviews of the situation and his campaign. He has been collecting and submitting petitions objecting to actions by the GCUWCD. The petitions are available for download on his site under the menu listing of Petition to GCUWCD.

If you have questions you can contact him at action@texaswaterrights.org. 


>>As you may be aware, we were successful in limiting the SAWS permits - originally they had requested over 40,000 acre feet of water, and the permit they received was for 11,000+. Our attorney, Larry Dunbar, has filed an appeal to the district court contesting this 11000+ a/f permit. We will post more information about this soon.

________________________________________________

There have been some relevent articles in the San Antonio Express News recently:

>>New sales tax eyed for water plan January 15, 2011
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/environment/article/New-sales-tax-eyed-for-water-plan-958114.php
This describes "a tentative plan to protect endangered species at the San Marcos and Comal springs while allowing farmers and cities such as San Antonio to continue to pump from the Edwards Aquifer."...with money generated by "a new sales tax and increased fees for water users." The proposed taxing district, if approved by voters, would stretch from the coast up the Guadalupe River basin and across the Edwards Aquifer from Uvalde to Hays County."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

[except that $10 million of the $30 million raised would "pay agricultural landowners not to irrigate". Once again, salamanders rule over the people and the cattle in Texas!].

________________________________________________

>>San Antonio Water System (SAWS), who "needed" our water, has recently requested proposals from other areas, and received 13 responses:
SAWS calls for private water projects January 13, 2011
http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/SAWS-calls-for-private-water-projects-955706.php

________________________________________________

>>Who owns groundwater in the aquifer? January 12, 2011
Note: This story was originally published on 02/18/10
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Who-owns-groundwater-in-the-aquifer-952812.php
This article reports on a Supreme Court case regarding ownership and control of groundwater pumping rights in Texas that "pits the right of a landowner near Von Ormy to pump from the Edwards Aquifer against the government's authority to regulate the use of ground and surface water."

________________________________________________

>>Groundwater rights should stay with land ownership - Texans' access to abundant, affordable food depends on it. (Todd Staples/Special To The Express-News) December 29, 2010
http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/commentary/article/Groundwater-rights-should-stay-with-land-ownership-926951.php
Todd Staples is the Texas agriculture commissioner.
[In summary] "The debate over groundwater continues to boil as state courts are being asked to determine who owns the water"...Citing a case involving the Edwards Aquifer Authority before the Texas Supreme Court, he says "If the EAA gets its way, years of law and precedent could be reversed as government could gain authority to reduce or limit a landowner's right to pump water without due process or compensation...Under current law, landowners own the water beneath their land. They know conservation districts play an important role in helping manage water to ensure it is available for future generations, but there is a big difference between managing how much water is pumped and denying farmers and ranchers the right to access their water... We don't like being dependent on foreign oil; we cannot become dependent on foreign food. The best way to prevent that is to protect the rights of those who feed and clothe us — our farmers and ranchers."
 

Be sure to follow the link and read the entire article supporting Texas farmers, ranchers, landowners...
 


 Letter to Santa
Dear Santa,
Thank you for making many people happy on Christmas. My brother and I have a special wish for
this and future Christmases in Gonzales County. We wish that you could bring lots of snow from the
North Pole for our residents in Gonzales County. It's okay if it melts, because it is water that is needed
due to the droughts and large volume pumping from the local groundwater aquifers. Also, bring extra
for your reindeer, because some areas here are very short. Some of the springs have quit flowing and
one local poultry producer is having to haul water for his chickens because his well has gone dry. We
hope that bringing snow here from the North Pole doesn't deplete your supplies so that fish and
wildlife at the North Pole are adversely affected like they are beginning to be here.

You are welcome to water your reindeer at my Granddad's cattle water troughs along the railroad
tracks North of the city of Gonzales. You will recognize them because the water is very orange. The
quality is not good enough to use in our house, but our cows continue to drink it. Take time to pet our
cows – mine is black , No.. 31. She is very gentle and likes to be rubbed. My brother's doesn't have a
number yet, but she is the small gentle red one. If you could bring lots of snow, it would keep other
people's wells from going dry or becoming unusable due to reduction in water quality.
We know that this is asking a lot, but our future and the future of all young people here depend on
the local life sustaining water.

There is one last request. We would love to help you locally to deliver some snow if you can keep
some of it from melting.

Thank you Santa.
Edward (3 yrs) and Henry (2 yrs) LePori
Grandsons of Wayne LePori

Public Hearings - Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District
July 13, 2010 - 5:30 pm - Commissioners Courtroom
Gonzales County Courthouse
414 St. Joseph St.
Gonzales, TX
 
Will be taking action on the SAWS permit applications, and will include comments by the
GCUWCD Board President, presentation of the Hearing Examiner's report recommendations
and and the exceptions that were submitted, and Contested Case Parties' Presentations.
 
Following that hearing will be the regular monthly meeting of the GCUWCD and will include
a discussion and action on the Mitigation Fund Manual covering registered wells that are
impacted by water exportation.

WPA Meeting
Tuesday July 13, 2010- 7:30 PM - Elks Lodge, Gonzales TX
- Open to the Public -
Speaker:
Larry Dunbar, our attorney, will be reviewing the GCUWCD meetings and the outcomes...
and what it will mean to all of us and the future of the area.

________________________________________
Be sure to read the letter to the editor recently sent to both local papers by Wayne LePori 
(click here) discussing concerns from the possible approval of the SAWS permits at the 
GCUWCD meetings tonight calling for action on the SAWS permit applications and also the 
Mitigation plan for registered wells harmed by pumping.
 
The groundwater availability report by our attorney, Larry Dunbar, outlines that the available
groundwater is already over-allocated and will already cause a 100' drawdown of the
Carrizo aquifer. This drawdown will impact the other aquifers.
If the water levels are lowered by the GCUWCD approving the permits...
  • Residents may face higher fees for water
  • Windmills would no longer be able to pump water. Are those of you will windmills prepared
	to bring electricity to those wells?
  • If your wells have to be drilled lower, are you prepared to pay thousands of dollars to re-
 	drill?
  • If the brackish water line moves northward rendering it unusable in some areas due to

over-pumping of the aquifer, what will you do for water for your home or livestock?

  • If you rely on streams to fill tanks, what will you do for water for livestock if the

streams no longer flow?

  • If river flows decrease due to decreased flow from the aquifers to the rivers, what will

Gonzales City residents have to pay for water, which primarily comes from the river?

  • What will local businesses do if the water they rely on is no longer available or if the
    fees are increased?
 
OVERPUMPING MAY ALSO IMPACT AVAILABLE WATER IN ADJACENT COUNTIES.
 
The GCUWCD mettings may well be your last chance to have your voice heard about these
issues and have your presence against these permits felt.
 
We encourage you to attend the GCUWCD meetings - this is expected to be the "showdown"
of our long campaign to protect our water. If these issues will affect you, or if you want to
protect the future of this area, YOU NEED TO ATTEND.
______________________________________________________________________________
 
Be sure to read the article in the San Antonio Express News
 
You can add comments to the article.


Judge throws out billion-dollar suit against LCRA (by SAWS)





 
"The Lower Colorado River Authority scored a major victory Monday over the San Antonio
Water System when a state district judge threw out a lawsuit against the river authority.
 
The San Antonio utility had sued the LCRA, which provides water to more than 1 million
Central Texans, after a multibillion-dollar water-sharing agreement fell apart last year.

...Before the ruling, San Antonio Water System lawyer Jim George told the judge that the
LCRA's "intention was to steal from the people of San Antonio."
for the rest of the article, see:
 
 
______________________________________________________
Region L meetings and minutes archives are online 
click
here
________________________________________________
Here is one of our new billboards:
 
We are very appreciative of John Gannon, WPA member, and his company JGI, Inc.,
for their work and support getting such great billboards up for us!
________________________________

Got Water?
Not for Long...
Join the WPA before it's gone!
______________________________________
Join the fight to save our water
NOW
before it's too late!
The more members we have, the more they will listen!!



WPA entry awarded 2nd place in Come and Take It parade
in the car/truck - non-commercial division


Many thanks to WPA President Mark Ploeger, Board Member Gene Irle,
and WPA member Joe Svoboda for their creativity and support!!
With Joe's wagon and mules, our theme supported the historical aspects
of our Gonzales Come & Take It celebration.








Archives

Water Issue Symposium, November 12 in San Antonio
The launch of the new season of the Texas Water Symposium.
"Our limited Groundwater Supply: who's desired future conditions are we planning for?"
The Texas Water Symposium, created through the partnership of Schreiner University,
Texas Tech University, Texas Public Radio, and Hill Country Alliance
is a series of free lectures designed to inform and engage Texas citizens.
Read more here.

______________________________________________________________

"National Groundwater Awareness Week"

(March 2009 - includes information about water management)
_________________________________________________________________________
 

 "Water legislation won’t slip away"
Victoria Advocate - January 16, 2009

By Tara Bozick
http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/local/story/394957.html

This article states that the Texas legislature is considering bills which will impact water management. Victoria County Groundwater Conservation District is working with Austin attorney Jim Allison who will be reviewing the bills, and "will provide the board and general public with summaries and his own analyses"..."Allison advised the district to advocate for protecting the aquifer, it's mission by law, and to be careful not to advocate for other issues like economics or property rights."

"Legislature will wade into water feuds"
Victoria Advocate - January 3, 2009
By Tara Bozick
http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/local/story/386182.html

Excerpts from the article include: "Water and its protection will top a host of issues this legislative session, with a dozen bills relating to water already pre-filed by legislators. Several include conservation measures and how to protect underground aquifers."

"That bill would have a very direct impact on groundwater districts," Tim Andruss, general manager for the Victoria district, said, adding the board has yet to take any formal position. "Based on my understanding, it would negatively impact the district and the principle of local control that we support."

 
GONZALES 2008 MANAGEMENT PLAN DRAFT V.2 click here

"Rural Group Pitches Water Project"

San Antonio Express News 12/20/08
By Roger Croteau - Express-News
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/Rural_group_pitches_water_project.html 

Be sure to read this article on a proposed sale of 200,000 acre feet of water per year from the Simsboro aquifer by the Brazos Valley Water Alliance, a group of landowners northeast of Austin in a 3-way deal with GBRA & SAWS to provide water to San Antonio & the I-35 corridor, with most of the water expected to go to San Antonio if the project is approved. (This proposal is for a substantially higher price per acre foot than has been proposed in Gonzales County).

[SAWS Vice President Greg] "Flores said the Brazos Valley Water Alliance would sell the water for $500 to $1,000 an acre-foot, which would be a competitive price in today's market. "

"The project would be similar to the Alcoa project that SAWS considered a few years ago. That proposal, to buy up to 90,000 acre-feet a year from Alcoa in Milam and Lee counties, died in 2005, partly because of local opposition."

UPDATES:

 CURRENT STATUS RE: SAWS PERMIT APPLICATIONS & DESIRED FUTURE CONDITIONS click here

 WPA’S POSITION PAPER ON “DESIRED FUTURE CONDITIONS” click here
 
With the recent start of our membership drive 
the WPA now represents over 4200 people, and growing!

The Water Protection Association (WPA) was formed in Gonzales County
in response to concerns about protecting the water resources in south central Texas.

Gonzales County is the front line in the fight
to protect the groundwater for the future for rural Texas.

Gonzales County is the #1 cow-calf producing county in Texas, and #2 in poultry production.






Don't let this

become this







- CHECK THIS PAGE FOR MEETING UPDATES -
(such as speakers and cancellations or changes due to weather)

MEMBERSHIP RENEWALS

We appreciate your renewals which pay our attorney fees and expenses for our community education campaign (ads, brochures, etc.).

If your renewal is due please renew as soon as possible. We are an all-volunteer organization, so 100% of the funds we raise are dedicated to our legal or educational efforts.

(You can send your payments to WPA, PO Box 32, Gonzales TX 78629. If you prefer, a new membership form is posted on the Membership Form page to accompany your payment. It has a check box indicating that this is a renewal. You can also renew at our meeting).

We need to continue to expand our membership, which CONTINUES TO strengthen our influence and pay our expenses.

One way to expand is for each of you to make sure when you are talking with others in the area that you explain the CRITICAL nature of this situation to them and encourage them to attend our next open meeting.

If each member can recruit at least one new member, we will double our membership. This will double our strength, and keep us moving forward in this campaign!

Each and every business owner, rancher and property owner needs to recognize how critical water availability is. If our water is depleted by exportation, businesses, ranchers and the economy would suffer, property values would sink, and our future would be uncertain.


WE ALL NEED TO SPREAD THE WORD!!!
WE NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH OUR CAMPAIGN !!