Serving Kerr County with a Conscience

Build--Build--Build! Where's the Water?

The audience at the 9-14-11 Headwaters Groundwater Conservation District Board meeting was keenly focused on disparity of water allotment throughout the groundwater district and expressed concern the HGCD was not doing enough to avoid the same disastrous water shortage faced by neighboring Kendall County.  Suggestions for ticketing, fines and jail were put forth as solutions for pumping violations.  Even though the HGCD has no enforcement authority it is within the jurisdiction of the commissioner's court to issue such a directive as has been done in Kendall County.

           Board Member Pratt felt we need less interference from the HGCD.  In the past developers and new water systems have been responsible for collecting and paying the fee for well samples and analysis which helps to map geological formations and water availability in various areas of the county.  He made a motion to delete the rule completely.  Arguments for deleting the rule included:
  • state laws are in place for water and that's all we need
  • the fee is too burdensome for developers they will go to another county where development costs are lower
  • we need to bring more people to increase the tax base
  • we need development to create jobs
  • who really needs the information from well samples, the state hasn't told us to collect the information
  • if the HGCD wants the sample they should pay for it not the developer
Responses to the above reasoning included:
  • how can you continue to bring people into the county when we have no water
  • well known that residential development costs more than the tax revenue it generates
  • continued residential development will hurt our tourism industry
  • we need the data for smart development i.e. build where there is a reliable water source
  • developers do not pay the fee it is paid by the water companies responsible for drilling and selling the water to the new subdivision residents.  The water companies are in the business to make money and the $4,0000 to $6,000 fee is part of their business expense and does not deter them
  • the data is needed and current taxpayers whose water is being pumped by the new development will bear the future financial burden of lower aquifer levels and possible depletion
  • the cost should not be paid by the HGCD---as a tax based entity this would mean individual taxpayers are paying water company expenses for a developer who is putting more stress on the water supply
  • state legislature has put groundwater management squarely in the hands of locally elected Groundwater Districts not the state
    There will be a public hearing on deleting the rule completely at the UGRA building on Wednesday, October 19th at 1:30 pm.  This does not in any way affect new, future or old residential-domestic-exempt wells.  It just requires new large wells to collect this data during the drilling process.  Developers, realtors and investors will be well represented at this meeting.  They will be loud and threatening to take their development somewhere else.  In the past I've heard one developer threaten the HGCD board with an uprising on a similar issue.

The individual taxpayers of Kerr County including Kerrville, Center Point, Ingram & Hunt residents need to show up and offer your opinion to our groundwater district board.  They will be voting on the issue at the November 9th regular monthly meeting.

F. Lovett

Open Letter to Kerrville Daily Times

Mr. Armstrong,

Thank you and the KDT for your continued coverage of water issues.  I hope you will be able to correct a statement in yesterday's edition.  Specifically, "restrictions imposed by the state on how much water the city can pull from the
Guadalupe River have curtailed the city's safe operating capacity".  Actually, there is almost no water in the Guadalupe River to pull. TCEQ only requires the city to maintain the same river flow out of Town Lake that flows into the lake during periods of low flow.  During periods of above normal flow the city is required to simply maintain normal flow over the dam. There has been very little flow into Town Lake for months and the TCEQ cannot produce additional river water.  The city of Kerrville has free access to all the water in Town Lake they simply must assure that the same amount flows over the dam as flows into the lake. 

You should be aware that Charlie Hastings, Director of Public Works, has blamed the TCEQ's watermaster program for Kerrville water restrictions in previous years by promoting the idea that the city is being punished.  Your article implies that untruth is being promoted again.  The
TCEQ (state) does not dictate anything beyond assuring the river continues to flow.  I hope you will take a critical look at the facts surrounding river pumping and provide a factual analysis to your readers.

Kerr County Conscience website provides historical data from the USGS gauges located along the river in Kerr County.  I believe a brief check of this data is invaluable to understanding that our current river water situation is indeed a crisis which we cannot blame on the state.  Click here to view this data.

Frances Lovett
East Kerr County
Kerr County Conscience