Group to host forum on impact of EP water permit

New information on the potential impact of a Houston-based company’s plan to pump one billion gallons of water per year from the Trinity Aquifer will be the subject of an upcoming forum. 

Hosted by the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA), the forum is in light of a contentious contested case hearing involving Electro Purification (EP) and TESPA and other Hays County landowners. EP applied with the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District in 2017 for the production permit.

The forum will include comments from Hays County Pct. 3 Commissioner Lon Shell, TESPA officials and scientists studying the implications of the permit. 

“TESPA has new information to share about the full range of potential drawdown from a large volume groundwater production permit and commercial well field near Driftwood,” according to a TESPA release. 

Adam Friedman will present on the consequences of EP’s permit, based on new modeling. A question and answer segment will follow the presentation, according to the release. 

“The nonprofit organization, with the mission to protect groundwater and private property rights, is calling for citizens to gather and learn more as a result of its own expanded groundwater modeling and scientific study,” read the release. 

The event is in light of recent testimony by James Beach with WSP Consultants in Austin in the contested case hearing against the EP permit. 

In conjunction with the Needmore water permit, both applications, if granted, could result in a 35% loss in water volume in the Trinity Aquifer, according to Beach’s analysis. 

Additionally, his calculations indicated that the Cow Creek wells near O’Neill Ranch would experience a permanent decline of 60-acre feet after one year, 120-acre feet after seven years and 175-acre feet after 30 years. 

According to a letter from groundwater district and local elected officials and O’Neill Ranch Estates Homeowners Association President Keith Hawkins, “These simulated results suggest that the pending EP and Needmore permits pose an extreme threat to the continued groundwater use of all our landowners in O’Neill Ranch estates, but also to neighbor wells in Dripping Springs.”

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