The Pedernales Electric Cooperative Board of Directors voted unanimously in support of legislation on groundwater production at its Feb. 17 meeting. The vote is a show of the board’s stance on this issue, which is an important one for communities within the Co-op’s service area.
The Texas Water Code recognizes that a landowner owns the groundwater beneath the land. It also allows for the creation of groundwater conservation districts in order to protect natural reservoirs against “wasteful or malicious drainage.”
By resolution, the PEC board states that the boundaries of these districts are not consistent with the hydrogeology of Central Texas and that unregulated aquifer areas exist which are vulnerable to the commercial drainage of groundwater from beneath a landowner’s property.
“Well drillers are locating these gaps in water district jurisdictions and exploiting them for pure profit,” PEC District 6 Director Larry Landaker, who sponsored the resolution, said. “What is happening in Hays County through the misuse of the rule of capture is tantamount to the theft of water by one community to serve another. … That volume of water could … create a serious economic impact to the Hill Country communities we serve. Economic impact to the Hill Country is economic impact to PEC.”
The board called for legislation to establish the proper local regulation of commercial and non-exempt groundwater production in Hill Country aquifer areas which are currently outside of existing conservation districts. It also agreed to communicate its support to the Texas Legislature and specifically to State Rep. Jason Isaac, who is currently working on legislative solutions to address this issue.
“Reliable energy and water supplies are essential for the homes and businesses of our service area. We must all remain committed to protect our groundwater resources for the future of the Texas Hill Country,” PEC Board President Dr. Patrick Cox said. “It’s in PEC’s best interest to support the best interests of its members.”