School, church earns honors for responsible groundwater usage

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and School was designated the 2016 Permittee of the Year by the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District last week.

As a groundwater user, the church/school was directly affected by the passage of  Texas House Bill 3405 and the district’s annexation of the shared territory in summer of 2015. This annexation placed into effect a groundwater management scheme as well as permitting requirement for nonexempt groundwater users. St. Stephen’s stepped up to be a leader in the community by demonstrating both its willingness to support the district’s initiatives and its cooperation in complying with the new permitting and regulatory requirements in effect for the area.

While managing its own permitting efforts, leaders at the church and school were extremely instrumental in organizing the district’s community informational meeting, which took place at their facilities in summer of 2015.

St. Stephen’s was one of the first nonexempt groundwater users to meet with district staff so that the church/school staff could better understand the groundwater resources. This leadership effort was led by Jeannetta Watson and Karen Titkemeyer, parish administrators, Marsha Acock, head of school, and Richard Page, a facility steward in the St. Stephen’s Vestry.

Watson and her colleagues were receptive to BSEACD and their ongoing cooperation has enabled the St. Stephen’s to have an excellent compliance record overall. Paige helped St. Stephen’s with its permitting and compliance efforts, served as a liaison with other members of the vestry and school administration, and offered up his own personal wells for monitoring purposes.

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