May 31, 2011

Watershed news from Wimberley Valley

Challenges Water Plan to Allow for More Groundwater Pumping Than is Available in the Hill Country, Profile of Jacob’s Well, David Baker receives the Texas Environmental Excellence Award, a Hays County Water Issues Alert: Download the newsletter here.

What on Earth will we do with the Texas Hill Country?

The Native Plant Society of Texas hosts, What on Earth Will we do with the Texas Hill Country? Presented by Bill Neiman, HCA Board member and founder of Native American Seed, Tuesday, June 7 at the Riverside Nature Center. Details

May 30, 2011

Groundwater Depletion is Detected from Space

Scientists have been using small variations in the Earth’s gravity to identify trouble spots around the globe where people are making unsustainable demands on groundwater, one of the planet’s main sources of fresh water. Read more from the New York Times here.

May 28, 2011

Is Edwards region’s top priority more water or lower cost?

Would you be willing to risk rare but severe water-use restrictions in exchange for the lowest possible price for pumping from the Edwards Aquifer? That question is being confronted by regional leaders in the legislatively mandated Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program. Read the full SA Express article here.

May 27, 2011

Groundwater Rights bill is on its way to the Governor

The Texas Senate concurred with the House version of SB 332, a best attempt to balance what started out known as the “vested rights” legislation. Many fear the bill will generate more lawsuits and financial strain for Groundwater Conservation Districts. Time will tell. “Texas needs to come to grips with the need to manage our groundwater resources on a sustainable basis for future generations. Ultimately a landowner can’t build a fence around a natural resource such as groundwater. It’s a shared resource even if a landowner has certain rights to the use of that resource” Ken Kramer, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club, statement here. More on this issue here.

May 26, 2011

Sponsor of Texas Senate bill to strip controversial legal protections for industry

Facing a swelling public outcry, the sponsor of an amended environmental bill that would have given broad legal protections to most industries pledged Thursday to strip out the provision. Read more

House-passed bill will lead to unchecked polluting

The House passed an amended bill today that has a consumer group and several lawmakers concerned about public safety and air quality. Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen said Senate Bill 875 would allow companies to pollute without much fear of legal trouble. It “basically gives immunity to polluters as long as they have a permit,” Smith said. Read full article here.

May 24, 2011

Texas House Bill 3391 – The Rainwater Harvesting Bill Passes

The passage of Texas House Bill 3391, known as the Rainwater Harvesting Bill, represents a giant step forward for conservation of water resources and water security for the state. Representative Doug Miller truly is looking out for the needs of the Texas Hill Country. Read more here.

Groundwater Bill passed the House

The House passed an amended version of SB 332. Read KUT news report here. Read an analysis of the legislation including who supports it, who opposes it and what concerns remain here. The ball moves to back to the Senate now to decide if they concur with the amended version. More information on this issue and groundwater management in Texas here.

Record farming, ranching loss seen

Texas’ farmers and ranchers are coping with their eighth drought in the past 13 years, and this one, while still young, has a chance of slamming producers with their biggest losses ever, officials said. Read full SA Express article here.

Recharge to Local Water Sources: A Comparison of Groundwater and Surface Water Reservoirs

In Central Texas, people rely on both groundwater (stored in an aquifer) and surface water (stored in lakes) as their source of water. Interestingly enough, recharge to aquifers and lakes are limited in different ways. Read the full article in the May edition of the BSEAD Aquifer Bulletin here.

May 16, 2011

Service Approves Hays County Regional Habitat Conservation

Plan for Two Federally Listed Species The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue a 30-year incidental take permit to Hays County authorizing the incidental take of the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo as a result of the Hays County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan. Read more

A Homegrown Success: Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan Turns 15

May 2011 marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan (BCCP) by the City of Austin, Travis County and other BCCP partners. It is the first regional multispecies, federally protected habitat conservation plan of its kind in the nation. Read more

May 14, 2011

Monthly fee of $3 for SAWS is pushed

By increasing its average monthly water bill $3, San Antonio Water System could help pay for a new management program for the Edwards Aquifer that would free San Antonio from the threat of a federal lawsuit or loss of control of its main water source, according to a leading water policymaker. Read more from SA Express-News here.

May 12, 2011

Texas Senate strips out pollution provisions

The Texas Senate has passed a bill continuing the state’s chief environmental agency, taking out provisions environmentalists warn would make it easier for industrial plants to pollute the air and water. Read full article here.

May 11, 2011

Award-winning Rainwater Revival Set for October 8

The award-winning Rainwater Revival has been set for October 8 at Roger Hanks Park in Dripping Springs. The second annual event will include many of the features that made the 2010 event a success, with vendors, an auction of professionally decorated rain barrels, speakers on many rain-harvesting-related topics, music and food. Read more

May 10, 2011

PEC Members – Do Not Throw Away Those Ballots

Please vote in this crucial election for Pedernales Electric Cooperative Board of Directors. Mail In and Online Voting concludes June 10, 2011. Issues facing the COOP Board of Directors today: Pending legislation to dismantle PEC and open to competition, adding renewable energy and our own generation, energy efficiency assistance, escalating rates from LCRA. Also on the Ballot is an amendment of how we elect Board of Directors – maintaining “At Large System” allows us to vote each year. Learn more. For online voting click here.

Hill Country Alliance Provides Valuable Information for Area Water District Voters

In response to a heightened interest in groundwater management and elections coming up on May 14th in several area groundwater districts, the Hill Country Alliance distributed more than 13,000 pieces of informational material, Hill Country Groundwater, to area citizens. Read more

May 4, 2011

Report: Major flaws in Austin Water Conservation Program

A new report of conservation programs at the Austin Water Utility, “Read It and Leak,” finds slow progress in a number of programs to reduce water use. Amidst a growing drought and the highest combined residential water-wastewater rates of the 10 largest cities in Texas at the beginning of 2011, the report called for more reforms and new programs that will convert Austin’s promises to real action and water savings. Read more

Texas Master Naturalist host meeting on Water Quality and Watershed Conservation

Honey Creek State Natural Area in eastern Comal County is the site of a comprehensive project focused on assessing improvements in water quality and quantity that are realized through selected conservation practices. Phillip Wright, principal investigator for this project, will speak at the May 23rd meeting of the Master Naturalist Hill Country Chapter. Details

May 2, 2011

TCEQ hosts meeting on water quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will hold a meeting Wednesday, May 11 on a draft Total Maximum Daily Load implementation plan. The meeting will give the public a chance to discuss ways to address bacterial impairment in the Guadalupe River above Canyon Lake, segment 1806 in Kerr County. Read more