When a Conservative Calls Vista Ridge Manmade Climate Crisis maybe some will listen but it won’t be SAWS or their private partners. Burleson, Milam, Lee and Bastrop countians, come to Post Oak Hearing October 3rd and be heard. It’s your water.
Question: What happens SAWS Comes for Water They Don’t Need?
Friday’s #GlobalClimateStrike witnessed saw millions take to the streets all around the world demanding action on the world’s climate crisis. Many Texas rallied as well, including a large contingent at our State Capitol in Austin. Sadly, demands for global action ignored a man-made crisis in Central Texas that affects us all. We’re talking about the Vista Ridge mega-groundwater conveyance pipeline, a private, for-profit venture that threatens to undermine an underground aquifer just 50 miles east of the Capitol.
The Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer is under siege but working together we can protect it and leave a legacy of water for all Texans.
The reality is that there once was a major coalition that fought Vista Ridge, but the going has been tough and many of the tough are resigned to fighting their own battles.
The good news is a better organized coalition – the Vista Ridge Resolution Coalition (VRRC) – has targeted the source of the problem and identified the solution. The VRCC is urging the San Antonio City Council to authorize an independent management, legal and financial audit of the project, while calling for a city ordinance to rein in the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), a rogue public agency ultimately responsible for this project. The VRCC sent this release, this cover letter and 10-page back up document to media and officials throughout the region. Just what they are going to do with it is a big question.
Answer: SAWS & Private Corporate Partners Demand More!
San Antonio doesn’t need all the water they’re committed to purchase from the corporations behind this project, yet the private partners behind Vista Ridge just filed a permit for additional water!
Robert Puente, the CEO of SAWS told the City Council on February 14, 2018 that he would sell 15K of Vista Ridge’s 50K acre-feet commitment so that ratepayers wouldn’t be paying for the water they neither needed nor could use. Mr. Puente knew about this problem for nearly two years, yet his efforts to sell water to cities along the 142-mile pipeline have come to nothing. Mr. Puente’s attempt to sell far less expensive Edwards Aquifer water to developers outside the city failed when Governor Abbott vetoed House Bill 1806. This legislation was developed by the SAWS lobby team without approval from the San Antonio City Council, and would’ve undermined the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan by permitting SAWS to serve customers beyond its prescribed zones in Kendall County.
Senator Lois Kolkhorst stood up in the Senate and publicly cried foul:
“SAWS is now looking for new customers! And so, basically my district is supplying water to SAWS so they can supply water to other parts. And I don’t think it’s fair! I don’t think that’s what we signed up for!” (For more on the HB 1806 veto visit our news article here.)
James Lee Murphy, Esq., serves on the Advisory Board of the LIV and is a top Texas water lawyer. Today he said,
“As conservative Republican I am appalled. Vista Ridge is both an economic and environmental disaster, and no matter what your political stripes, this is a true climate catastrophe. Both left and right should be opposed to this reckless, wasteful project. We should demand that our media and local officials address this problem. Even environmentalists have their heads down – even those in the area that will be flooded with development fueled by water taken from an aquifer that does not recharge in human terms.” (Murphy, in this LIV article, also blew the whistle on Puente being “way overpaid.”)
Linda Curtis, LIV’s volunteer coordinator said,
“If the San Antonio City Council and elected officials across the region step up and take these public-private partners on – the ones who left the rest of us out — this will benefit everybody; SAWS ratepayers, landowners, environmentalists and we don’t have to argue about whose fault this is.”
Just get on the phone, people, and call your officials and demand an audit of Vista Ridge and a rein on SAWS and ask your friendly media folks to do what they do best – sound the alarm already!