by ANDY SEVILLA
Kyle could soon roll out an unprecedented water conservation project. The city received preliminary approval to move forward with the program in lieu of paying a $46,000 fine for over-pumping groundwater.
The Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) levied the financial penalty on Kyle after the city exceeded groundwater withdrawal by almost 17 million gallons last year.
Kyle Utilities Coordinator Jason Biemer said the EAA enforcement committee voted last Tuesday to use the $46,000 toward a water conservation project that would provide city residents with water conserving devices and educational material.
“We would bundle the various water saving devices into a ‘kit’ for distribution to any customers of the city of Kyle water department,” Biemer said in a July 24 proposal to the EAA. “Kits will be disseminated on a first-come first-served basis. It is our intention to distribute 1,000 total kits, as well as supply printed educational materials to the public regarding conservation and water resource stewardship.”
The EAA governing board still has to give final approval to Kyle’s proposal when it meets in September, Biemer said.
Kyle has a historical permit to pump 432.072 acre-feet of water per year, but the city was limited by the EAA to about 350 acre-feet last year because of drought restrictions, Biemer said. Those restrictions, coupled with mechanical failures that limited city access to surface water, caused the over-pumping, he said.
EAA records show the city pumped 400.714 acre-feet of water last year, an increase of 51.630 acre-feet from the 349.084 acre-feet of groundwater the city was permitted.
An acre-foot of water equals 325,851 gallons. Biemer said, in Kyle, three of four homes generally use an acre-foot of water per year.
The over-pumping cost Kyle $40,271.40 in penalties, plus $6,040.71 in added penalties because of prior violations, EAA records show. In 2007, the city also exceeded authorized groundwater withdrawal, for which the city paid the EAA a $1,006.24 penalty, records show.
Biemer said the city is not projected to over-pump this year.
“We’re in much better shape,” he said.
- Kyle could owe for emergency water use 08/22/2012
- Are our springs drying up? Critical drought stage declared 03/20/2013
- Hays seeks to lock down water for the future 08/17/2011