The Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) adopted one new rule intended to protect Jacob’s Well at its Oct. 30 meeting but delayed a vote on other measures that are supported by the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA).
The district’s board will meet again at 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Dripping Springs City Hall, at which time more votes are expected.
Approved on Oct. 30 was an amendment to district rule that addressed unforeseen circumstances. It concerns “any unpredictable or uncontrollable event such as additional demand for fire control, loss caused by a water line break, additional flushing required to clear a water line following a break or repair, a tank control malfunction due to power outage or system malfunction, that prevents a permittee from achieving a required pumping curtailment.”
Rules 15 and 16 are still to be voted on.
Rule 15 would establish a Jacob’s Well Groundwater Management Zone (JWGMZ) and set rules governing non-exempt wells within it. Those rules include keeping records on how much water is produced and submitting monthly reports, not aggregating the well under a single permit with any other located outside the JWGMZ and not amending the permit to increase the annual production total.
Additionally, Rule 15 precludes drilling into or producing groundwater from the Middle Trinity, though new non-exempt wells would be allowed in the Lower Trinity; and all non-exempt wells must be constructed with casing and grouting. The rule allows for replacement wells so long as they are within 50 feet of a well that has been abandoned or plugged. Replacement wells would be subject to the same rules as the original wells.
Finally, Rule 15 mandates curtailments of pumping in times of drought.
Rule 16 involved a Regional Recharge Study Zone which would encompass a “specific geographic area overlying the Trinity Aquifer and located wholly within the boundaries of the district.”
“The study will monitor recharge, discharge, spring flow, water quality and aquifer levels” between Jan. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2025 and would be funded by sources including “fees, grants, gifts and collected penalties,” the rule reads. Additionally, any wells drilled after Nov. 1, 2019 must comply with permit requirements as well as be limited to 10 acre feet of production annually and shall be constructed with casing and grout.
The WVWA “fully supports” Rule 15, “as we see that it is essential for maintaining the health of Jacob’s Well, Cypress Creek and the Blanco River,” the organization says. “As our ‘little slice of heaven’ continues to grow, we need to start taking measures and precautions to help ensure that our ground and surface waters are protected and conserved.”
The WVWA also supports Rule 16’s study, which will establish a Groundwater Availability Model over the course of the next five years.
“With the threat of over-pumping our aquifers, as proposed by corporate interests competing for their water to export from our area increases, it is extremely important that our concerned citizens attend the HTGCD hearing on these proposed rules to create a groundwater management zone to protect the spring flow around Jacob’s Well.”
The organization also supports the drought curtailments “that require cutbacks on production volumes, not permitted volumes.”
The WVWA noted that an attorney for Electro Purification (EP), the Houston-based business that is one of the corporate water exporters, “has submitted comments in opposition to the GMZ rules that will protect Jacob’s Well and Pleasant Valley Springs.”