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Water Update from SAWDF


From one of the wonderful Texas water defenders, SAWDF Update

5/9/2023


Legislative News


Favorable legislation awaiting a public hearing in the Senate committee


**CALL TO ACTION**

Review the bills below. If you believe a bill(s) should move forward,

SAWDF urges you to contact the committee Chairman, Senator Charles Perry's office, and politely ask that the Chairman schedule the bill(s) for a public hearing by May 19.


HB 5052 – Gerdes **awaiting a public hearing in WARA committee **

Relating to the criteria considered by groundwater conservation districts before granting or denying a permit.


This bill allows GCDs to consider unreasonable effects on exempt [domestic & livestock] wells when making permitting decisions. Despite the Texas Farm Bureau and Texas Corn Producers Association registering against the bill, it passed the House 141-3. Senator Zaffirini is sponsoring HB 5052 in the Senate, awaiting a public hearing in the Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs [WARA] committee. Unfortunately, the committee chairman, Senator Perry, has yet to decide to schedule the bill for a public hearing.


HB 4532– Kacal **awaiting a public hearing in WARA committee **

Relating to the consideration of modeled sustained groundwater pumping in the adoption of desired future conditions.


HB 4532 is sensible legislation requiring that Desired Future Conditions be based on "modeled sustained groundwater pumping." Sustainable pumping is one of the recommendations from the report by Dr. Robert Mace, Five Gallons in a Ten Gallon Hat: Groundwater Sustainability in Texas. Senator Blanco filed a companion bill. Senator Blanco is a Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs committee member. SAWDF supports this bill.


Senator Zaffirini is sponsoring HB 4532 in the Senate, awaiting a public hearing in the Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs committee. The committee chairman, Senator Perry, has not decided to schedule the bill for a public hearing.


HB 3990 – Kacal – **awaiting public hearing in WARA committee **

Relating to a study of existing surface water and groundwater interaction.


Senator Blanco is sponsoring HB 3990 in the Senate, awaiting a public hearing in the Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs committee. However, the committee chairman, Senator Perry, has yet to decide to schedule the bill for a public hearing.


HB 3278– Price **awaiting a public hearing in WARA committee **

Relating to the joint planning of desired future conditions in groundwater management areas.

** Additional Action **


HB 3059 – King ** Reported favorably to the full Senate as substituted **


This bill allows GCDs to raise export fees to 20 cents per thousand gallons. In addition, it gives GCDs mitigation authority to accommodate future drawdowns from groundwater production. SAWDF supports this legislation.


HB 2735 – King ** Received in the Senate **

Relating to security required before filing suit against a groundwater conservation district.


HB 2443– Harris ** Received in the Senate **

Relating to the authority of certain persons to petition a groundwater conservation district to change certain rules.


House Natural Resources Committee [HNRC]

The HNRC is wrapping up business, publishing bill analyses and committee reports for bills that have been "reported favorably" by the committee.


SB 1080 – Kolkhorst / Gerdes ** Reported favorably to House Calendars as substituted **

Relating to a mitigation program and fees for the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.


The “LPGCD mitigation bill” was “reported favorably as substituted" on 5/3. The bill analysis and committee reports must be filed before SB 1080 is considered by the House Calendars Committee. The House calendar will be full of House Bills [HB] through May 15, which is the deadline for a House bill to be passed by the House and sent to the Senate. Legislative staff assures SAWDF that SB 1080 should be scheduled on the House calendar within the last two weeks of May before the legislative session ends on May 29.


HB 4445– Gerdes / Perry

Relating to water loss in water delivery systems for certain municipally owned water utilities.


Legislative staff reports that HB 4445 will NOT be voted out of committee because there are not enough votes to move it forward. While this is disappointing, the fact is, this legislation—authored over a breakfast meeting with SAWDF supporter Nancy McKee—was filed in both the Senate and House and received a public hearing in HNRC. SAWDF will work with legislators and stakeholders during the interim to improve this legislation for the 89th Legislative session in 2025.



LCRA Permit for Griffith League Ranch – we need donations to continue the fight!


On May 2, Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett ruled:

  • To allow intervention by the City of Elgin, Aqua WSC, Environmental Stewardship, Recharge Water, LP and Andrew Wier (representing Brown Landowners), and

  • To deny the LPGCD’s “plea to the jurisdiction.”

We believe the Lost Pines GCD plans to appeal the ruling on the “plea to the jurisdiction.” As intervenors, Brown Landowners and other parties are asking LPGCD if they would like to join forces in the appeal.


Brown Landowners are still in the fight. To date, LPGCD and the parties who contested the permit have prevailed. However, we need money to continue the fight in court. It has been four years since Brown Landowners originally did fundraising to participate in the Contested Case Hearing. That grassroots fund-raising in 2019 allowed SAWDF to secure a grant from the Environmental Fund of Texas to assist Brown Landowners. We need to refurbish the fund for this legal fight.


If the appeal of the “plea to the jurisdiction” fails, then Brown Landowners will need to submit a brief on the merits of the case by September 4.


Lost Pines GCD

Lost Pines GCD will hold a Public Hearing on a proposed updated Management Plan before the regular Board Meeting. The Management Plan includes some changes received in public comments in October 2022 and new Modelled Available Groundwater [MAGs] for each aquifer formation.


LPGCD

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Giddings City Council Chambers

6PM – Public Hearing on proposed LPGCD Management Plan

7PM – LPGCD Regular Board Meeting [agenda to be posted here]


Post Oak Savannah GCD

The Post Oak Savannah GCD will hold a DFC Committee meeting and regular Board Meeting on Tuesday, May 9. The DFC Committee will review proposed production limits in the various formations of the aquifer, similar to those recently proposed by LPGCD. You can view a recording of the meetings and download documents on the POSGCD website.



Be informed! Get Involved! Donate!

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