Using Wimberley's Drinking Water for New Golf Course? Call to Action Meeting to Protect Groundwater
Make your voice heard on this permit application by developers to draw down on Wimberley's groundwater, Monday, February 21, 2011 at 1 PM at Dripping Spring City Hall.

"This permit, if approved, would nearly double the amount of groundwater being pumped from the recharge area feeding Cypress Creek and currently supplying drinking water to thousands of residents in Woodcreek and Woodcreek North." David Baker, Executive Director of the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association

A view of a Central Texas Hill Country river bed as drought conditions become more common due to overuse of precious groundwater resources.

On Monday, February 21 the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District board will be considering approval of two water permits for a golf course development in the watershed recharging Jacob's Well and Cypress Creek and an 11% expansion of Wimberley Water Wimberley Supply Corporation's permit to pump groundwater from the Trinity Aquifer.

Please attend this meeting and make your voice heard on these important decisions for the future of groundwater in the Hill Country.

HTGCD will be voting to allocate new water pumping permits to Quicksand Development, also know as Wimberley Springs Partners. The proposed golf course is in the service area of AquaTexas, an investor-owned utility owned by the AquaAmerica Corporation.

Quicksand plans to build a high density development in the Woodcreek North Subdivision.

How this vote will affect you.

Permits for water use for this project could lead to:

1) Less water availability for existing Hill Country residents

2) Diminished spring flows in Jacob's Well and Cypress Creek

3) Lowered property values as groundwater becomes ever more scarce

4) A possible decline in water supply and a rise in utility rates for Aqua Texas rate payers

5) Increased traffic on our roads, leading to water pollution from added impervious cover and run off from the proposed golf course

The proposed Wimberley Springs Partners development consists of approximately 1300 lots owned by Quicksand Development; the platted density is at one-quarter acre per lot, with a few larger ones. All lot owners will be required to connect to AquaTexas's system with no plans in the works for rainwater collection systems. Additionally, the proposed development site is located on an important recharge zone over the Trinity Aquifer, making it more difficult for rain to find its way into the aquifer and resulting in a higher rate of run-off and flooding during periods of heavy rain.

Woodcreek North and Proposed Golf Course Development above Jacob's Well

Wimberley Springs Partners proposed addition of a golf course to its development.  This would be its second after the Quicksand Golf Course in the City of Woodcreek.

Currently, Wimberley Springs Partners has been pumping 29 million gallons of groundwater annually from six wells to water this existing golf course, and none of that pumping has been permitted by the HTGCD.

According to Jim McMeans of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD), "If WSP is given the permit it wants to develop the second golf course within its proposed high density development, its consumption of precious groundwater will increase by 275% to 80 million gallons annually."

Additionally, pollution from the golf course could impact drinking water supplies and water quality in Cypress Creek. The current proposal also would allow Quicksand Development to transfer their 80 million gallons from the golf course to the development.

The Wimberley Water Supply Permit request would expand their pumping by an 11% increase. The rate of growth in this system has been less than 1% a year over the past 5 years and they pumped 20% less than their permit last year. There has not been sufficient data presented to justify such a large increase; it is questionable whether this expansion is necessary to maintain water supply for the Wimberley area at this time.

It is premature  to issue new permits or grant  permit  expansions until the  Desired Future Condition Process is completed and the new Managed Available Groundwater (MAG) is reviewed and approved by the HTGCD board, Groundwater Management Area-9 and the Texas Water Development Board.  The final MAG will establish the water budget available for pumping in Western Hays County and across entire Hill Country.

How this affects Hill Country residents and businesses

According to David Baker, board member of the HTGCD and Executive Director of the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA), "We are currently mining the Trinity Aquifer and in a pumping deficit of 2000 acre feet more than the HTGCD management plan allows. The current management plan calls for 3714 acre-feet which is based on maintaining a sustainable pumping rate in average rainfall years. We somehow must find a way to reduce pumping, and not expand it, if we desire to protect current well owners and major springs like Jacob's Well.

This permit, if approved, would nearly double the amount of groundwater being pumped from the recharge area feeding Cypress Creek and currently supplying drinking water to thousands of residents in Woodcreek and Woodcreek North."

It is important that you make your voice heard on both of these issues at the upcoming HTGCD board meeting this Monday, Feb. 21st at 1 pm at Dripping Spring City Hall. It is our right and our duty as citizens of this precious region to know how our water is being managed and governed.

Come to learn, ask questions and hold your elected officials accountable for their actions on these important decisions about our water. For it is only with an active and educated populace that we are able to maintain a just democracy and fair distribution of precious water resources. This affects all of us!