The BIG DANG BAD News: Water is Pivotal to Build Out Texas, But Who & What Pays?
Join us on Monday night, October 10, from 7 to 8 pm on Zoom with all things water attorney, James Murphy, one of the top water lawyers in Texas. We'll talk about river authorities, water quality and desalination and you can ask James anything you want to know.
THE BIG DANGED BAD NEWS is that yet another mega-permit of groundwater is about to get rolling in the communities east of Austin. The "Recharge LP"* permit is a long-standing 46,000 acre-feet per year (nearly the size of Vista Ridge) permit from the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District granted seven years ago. We were wishfully thinking it would just go away. *The name "Recharge" is a continual irritation because the aquifers from which they will pump barely recharge. This permit began life as the infamous End Op project run by an equally infamous former Williamson County Commissioner, Frankie Limmer. Just last week, we found out that Recharge LP finally has a customer -- the Brazos River Authority (BRA). Recharge can only pump “tiered” amounts over the next several years, starting with 25,000 AFY, with Lost Pines assessing impacts along the way. Remember Vista Ridge just started pumping full bore, 50,000 AFY in April of 2020. Within 6 months "The San Antone Hose" began wreaking havoc with landowner wells in Burleson, Milam and Lee counties. No word yet on where BRA will deliver the water, but the permit only allows export to Williamson, Travis or Hays counties. We think Williamson County is the best bet with the Williamson County led by County Judge Bill Gravell, who never met a water grab of his neighboring counties that he didn’t like. He is also crazy enough to support subsidizing eleven new Samsung chip plants without a seeming care in the world about where these water guzzlers get their water! (Our article "Samsung Snooker Subsidies" has been making the rounds explains what happened to Milam County's water supply with the first chip plant in Taylor.) Three political powerhouses – the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA), and now BRA – have plans to dip into our central Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. LCRA will produce and sell, and BRA will buy and sell Lost Pines groundwater, while GBRA will pump groundwater so near to Lost Pines (in the Gonzales County groundwater district) that they will likely also impact landowner wells in Lost Pines. Those communities across Texas with water better get ready for a big fight. Though we must share -- and already do -- we do not support robbing Peter to pay Paul.