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Author Topic:   groundwater policy meeting
Miss Chris

Posts: 294
From: Wimberley, Texas
Registered: Nov 2006

posted August 27, 2008 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Miss Chris     Edit/Delete Message
I received this yesterday. Sorry about it's length. I think it's very important that we all know about it. Unfortunately, the meeting is held on Friday. Darn it!

Chamber Members,

If you are interested in the topic of conserving groundwater, please see
information provided

Carrie Harris
Wimberley Chamber of Commerce

Help decide the future of your groundwater today

This Friday the groups responsible for planning the future of
Hill Country groundwater will meet in Kerrville to discuss what will
happen to the precious resource over the next 50 years. Without your input, very important data and community voices could be left out of their decision-making process. Read HCA Advisory Board member David K.
Langford's urgent letter, contact your Groundwater Conservation District
no later than Thursday, and view our resources on this important topic.

Dear Friends:

This is really important. Please read carefully and take any action you feel may be appropriate.

As our population has grown, Texas has gotten thirstier -- and there are all manner of plans attempting to provide water for everyone.

Currently, there is a legislatively mandated process taking place that will affect the availability of water to residents of Kerr,Bandera, Blanco, Comal, Hays, Kendall, N. Bexar, N. Medina and S. Travis
counties for at least the next 50 years. Some of your neighbors (who must be thanked for their willingness to undertake the tremendous
responsibility of this difficult and challenging community service) are
making decisions that might ultimately determine whether or not your wells, your springs and your creeks will continue to flow.
On August 29, the groups responsible for managing our local groundwater resources will meet to discuss the 50-year plan to manage the groundwater under our counties. Remember, the outcome of this process could determine the flow of water through the Hill Country for the next half century -- or possibly forever.
Frankly, we all better get involved now, so we don't find ourselves going thirsty later.

Who are these groups?

For many years, groundwater management in Texas has been handled
by local groundwater districts. They provide local input over water resources similar to how school districts manage all aspects of public education. Most of our state's groundwater districts are established
using county borders, which causes problems because the aquifers they manage do not follow political boundaries. In many cases, several groundwater districts manage the same aquifer, but their rules are
seldom the same.
(Read more about groundwater and its history in Texas at this
helpful site: http://www.texaswatermatters.org/groundwater.htm
<http://www.texaswatermatters.org/groundwater.htm> .)
To help alleviate these difficulties, our Texas Legislature decreed that local groundwater districts would cooperate in Groundwater Management Areas (GMAs) to more appropriately manage their shared groundwater resources. We residents of Kerr, Bandera, Blanco, Comal, Hays, Kendall, N. Bexar, N. Medina and S. Travis counties are governed
by GMA 9. (See the map here
<http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/public/downloadit.cfm?DocID=486> .)
The GMAs were directed to complete a process that would determine the Desired Future Conditions (DFCs) of their shared
groundwater resources for at least the next 50 years. (Desired Future Conditions may also be projected for perpetuity.) GMA 9 is working to complete this process. (Read more about how this process works here.
<http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/public/downloadit.cfm?DocID=487> )
The GMAs, to help with their decisions, primarily have access to
information from the Texas Water Development Board about historic use, recharge, storage, and availability predictions called Groundwater Availability Models (GAMs).

Why should you and I care?

Currently, GMA 9 is considering a proposal that might allow for up to a 33-foot draw down of our water table. Imagine what might happenif our water table is lowered 33 feet. Personally, our family is not
willing to potentially give up our springs and wells.

Secondly, GMA 9 might not be looking at all the data that's potentially available. Most notably, GMA 9 might be making plans without taking the 1950s "drought of record" into consideration. Do we know what
may happen if our water table declines 33 feet, and then we experience a drought of the magnitude of the 1950s scorcher? Under that worst-case scenario, how far down might our water table drop?

(Read the Hill Country Alliance's official resolution in support of the drought's inclusion here
<http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/public/downloadit.cfm?DocID=489> .)

(Read arguments against the drought's inclusion here
<http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/public/downloadit.cfm?DocID=488> .)

What should we do?

Get informed and get involved quickly.

How do I get involved?

GMA 9 is made up of local groundwater districts from thecounties listed above. Please contact your groundwater district
representatives and ask them to insist that the GMA 9 process include all data available, especially any regarding the drought of record. Even if any data might be somewhat incomplete, it's still information that
should be considered. Our policy-makers MUST have, and use, every available resource to make completely informed decisions.

If you do not know how to reach your groundwater district members, contact your county commissioners. They can tell you how to get in touch with the members of your groundwater district's board.

(See a list of contact information for GCD presidents here
<http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/public/downloadit.cfm?DocID=490> .)

What's the timeline?
This process is now on a fast track and your response should be on an equally fast track. All comments must be received by GMA 9 no later than Thursday, August 28. So, please contact your groundwater
district sooner. ASAP is highly recommended!

Although the final GMA reports are not due until September 2010,GMA 9 is deliberating with a sense of urgency. While expediting planning processes is generally preferred, it accomplishes less if it's done
without obtaining and using every bit of information reasonably possible.

Attend this meeting!

You should also plan on attending the next GMA 9 meeting, which will be held at 9 a.m. on Friday, August 29 in Kerrville, at UGRA and Headwaters GCD offices at the Guadalupe Basin Natural Resources Center,
125 Lehmann Drive. Be there, be involved in the process, and request 1)that all information possible be considered and 2) that forfeiting 33 feet (or more) of our current water table over the next 50 years is too much to ask of the citizens of GMA 9.
We all understand that growth will occur and that we must plan for it, but our leaders must equally value the folks who are already here. Our family thinks it's ironic, and wrong, that those whose conscientious stewardship has put water into our aquifers for generations -- as have the faithful actions of our more recently-arrived
conservation-minded neighbors -- may be "rewarded" by lowered water tables, non-functioning wells, dead springs, and a future that could be unreasonably vulnerable to the devastating effects of drought.
Thank you for lending your voice to this process, and please distribute my letter as you wish,

David K. Langford, Vice President Emeritus, Texas Wildlife Association
P.O. Box 1059, Comfort, TX 78013

dkl@westernphotographycompany.com -- 830/995-2147 home or
210/827-0306 mobile

A Final Note: These comments, of course, are specific to GMA 9.
However, all Texas counties are subject to the same GMA process. If you
have interests in counties other than those in GMA 9, or have friends
and neighbors who do, you all should be involved in whichever GMA (there
is a total of 16) is making these decisions for the future of your
groundwater resources. To determine which GMA governs your county, click
on the following link: http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/GwRD/GMA/gmahome.htm,
which will take you to the GMA Homepage on the Texas Water Development
Board's website.



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