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Opinion: Comment Period Closes Wednesday on Proposed 30-Foot Drawdown of Trinity Aquifer

Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey.

by the Hill Country Alliance
(Editor’s Note: This opinion piece has been edited for clarity and to include background information in hyperlinks.)

Hill Country Alliance (HCA) is submitting comments to the Texas Water Development Board’s Groundwater Management Area 9, which includes Comal County, regarding the proposed 30-foot drawdown of the Trinity Aquifer.

The comment period closes on June 30.

The Trinity Aquifer supplies critical flow to springs and rivers throughout the Hill Country. As champions and stakeholders in the Hill Country, we all have a vested interest in ensuring that our groundwater levels stay high enough to sustain the beautiful rivers and swimming pools that we all enjoy, particularly as we move into the heat of the summer.

To summarize, we recognize that the population of the Texas Hill Country is growing, that our current frameworks offer few tools for Groundwater Conservation Districts to deny permit requests that comply with the rules laid out by each district, and that we need more-localized scientific studies to model the impacts of drawdown within distinct geographic areas of the Hill Country.

In fact, the proposed 30-foot drawdown of the Trinity Aquifer is not adequately quantified, lacks important detail of aquifer characteristics, and does not protect the health of thousands of private wells and the springs that keep Hill Country rivers flowing:

  • Given the unknowns surrounding the local impacts of an average 30-foot drawdown, as well as a lack of sufficient popoulation and hydrological data incorporated into the current models, HCA believes that a more conservative drawdown is necessary to protect the aquifers in GMA 9. The proposed DFC does not adequately factor in potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of drawdown.
  • The proposed DFC does not account for the distinctive character of the Trinity Aquifer’s middle and lower formations.
  • There is too much averaging in model results and assumptions in the models to make accurate predictions about local conditions.

Click here to read HCA’s comments in their entirety.

If you agree that we should not be managing our groundwater supplies for depletion, you have options for how to make your voice heard:

  1. Sign your name onto HCA’s comments.
  2. Submit your own comments to GMA 9’s Public Comment Form

About Desired Future Conditions Set by GMA 9

Desired Future Conditions (DFCs) are planning tools set by groundwater-management areas and their member groundwater conservation districts (GCDs).

GCDs are mandated by the state to manage our groundwater resources by measuring and monitoring groundwater levels, spring-flow rates or a combination of the two.

The health and productivity of your local spring, river system and/or water well may be directly tied to the DFC set for your aquifer. Groundwater management was designed by the Texas legislature to be locally controlled and a bottom-up planning process, giving voice to those most-intimately connected to groundwater supplies.

To learn more about how groundwater planning works, click here.

About Hill Country Alliance

“The mission of Hill Country Alliance is to bring together an ever-expanding alliance of groups throughout a multi-county region of Central Texas with the long-term objective of preserving open spaces, water supply, wter quality and the unique character of the Texas Hill Country.” (source: HillCountryAlliance.org)

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