by VERONICA GORDON
Creekside Villas Senior Village representative Chuck Rice received a scolding from council members and a stern warning from local business owner Eileen Conley at a recent Buda City Council meeting.
“You’re on notice,” Conley told Rice. “Water is like gold in Texas.”
Creekside Villas developers are seeking a well permit from the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Authority to pump nearly 2 million gallons of water per year from the Edwards Aquifer to irrigate the apartment’s grounds at FM 967 above Onion Creek.
In May, the city protested the villas permit application because of concerns of contamination to groundwater. Buda city engineers are also concerned about the proximity of Creekside’s well to a city well in the same area.
Assistant City Manager Brian LaBorde updated the city council about the permit process.
“It leaves a bad taste in our mouths,” LaBorde said. “But if they provide us with information about their plan of action that satisfies our request, we might be willing to drop the protest.”
Council members let Rice know that they’re not happy with the plan as it stands.
Councilmember Cathy Chilcote pointed her finger at Rice and warned him that he didn’t want to go up against Conley. Conley has been a champion of water conservation in the area for many years.
“I would ask you to do whatever you can to be a good neighbor,” Chilcote said.
Rice told the council that the developers applied for the minimal well amount. Creekside is applying to the district for a Class C conditional permit, which would require the well to stop pumping when Stage 2 alarm drought conditions are declared.
“At the first sign of drought, we’ll cut if off,” Rice told the city council.
Councilmember Sandra Tenorio told Rice that he shouldn’t have a well at all.
“The idea of using aquifer water for irrigation is almost obscene,” Tenorio said. “I personally think it would be irresponsible to use that water.”
A hearing is set for July 12 in the district offices at 1124 Regal Row in Austin.
“The board could continue to let the two parties go through the process,” said John Dupnik, a regulatory compliance specialist for the aquifer district. “There might be testimony heard that day. This initial hearing allows them to work out an agreement. The board could also set a time for a public hearing to take place.”