The latest news from Jacob's Well Natural Area in Wimberley, Texas
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Wimberley Adopts Resolution to Protect Jacob's Well
Jacob's Well, Wimberley Texas
Members of Wimberley's City Council met Tuesday and voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting the development of a Specific Groundwater Management Area for Jacob's Well, the resolution will be read into the record by council member Steve Thurber at the Texas Water Development Board meeting this Thursday.
Council had discussed the idea of an SGMA for Jacob's Well and the Wimberley Valley at length in their regularly scheduled meeting earlier this month, and they directed City Administrator Don Ferguson and city staff to write a resolution that expressed their collective ideas. The resulting resolution states that the City of Wimberley "encourages the creation of a SGMA utilizing an adaptive management strategy to keep the creeks, streams and rivers in western Hays County clean, clear and flowing and to avoid a calamity to the prosperity of Wimberley and the surrounding area in Hays County." In addition, the resolution "requests the use of an open public process, involving all affected government entities, including the City of Wimberley, utility providers and local stakeholders when creating a SGMA for Jacob's Well and determining its boundaries, goals and rules."
Wimberley resident Malcolm Harris thanked city council for its leadership in putting together the resolution. Wimberley Valley Watershed Association President Jack Hollon said, "Cypress Creek is central to the history of the settlement of Wimberley and shapes the culture and arts and the very identity of living in Wimberley. It is also central to the biological health of the riparian area. If we lose the creek, we also lose the centuries old cypress trees there too."
Councilman Steve Thurber made a motion to accept the resolution as written and Councilman Tom Talcott seconded the motion. City Council voted unanimously to approve the resolution as written. Mayor Bob Flocke said, "I think that this resolution puts Wimberley firmly on the side of conservation of our natural resource. It's a resolution that doesn't call for a specific drawdown rate, it leaves it to science to determine an appropriate rate for the aquifer that feeds Jacob's Well, Cypress Creek and the Wimberley Valley."
The TWDB meeting will be held at 9 am on Thursday, March 1st in the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 N. Congress Avenue, Room 170 in Austin, Texas.
Residents are encouraged to attend the hearing to offer their support for protecting spring flows in the Wimberley Valley and the Texas Hill Country. Public comments will be allowed following the WVWA presentation. Emails can be sent to the board directly at email@example.com. Letters should be addressed to the Texas Water Development Board, Melanie Callahan, Executive Administrator at P.O. Box 13231, Austin, Texas 78711-3231. Please ask Melanie to distribute your letter to the individual Board members before the meeting for their preparation and consideration.
RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WIMBERLEY, TEXAS ENCOURAGING THE CREATION OF A SPECIFIC GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA FOR JACOBS WELL
WHEREAS, the City of Wimberley, Texas (the "City") is committed to the conservation, preservation and protection of the Trinity Aquifer in western Hays County; and
WHEREAS, the availability of groundwater from the Trinity Aquifer is essential to the quality of life for thousands of people who reside in western Hays County and rely solely on public and/or private groundwater wells in the Trinity Aquifer for their water supply; and
WHEREAS, spring flows from Trinity Aquifer springs, such as Jacobs Well, which sources Cypress Creek and the historic Wimberley Blue Hole, help provide clear, flowing surface waters for the creeks, streams, and the rivers that give western Hays County its unique sense of place; and
WHEREAS, these creeks, streams and rivers are the economic engines driving eco-tourism and increasing property values in western Hays County and require continued spring flows to maintain permanent, year-round surface water flows; and
WHEREAS, the Groundwater Management Area 9 ("GMA 9") recently adopted a Desired Future Condition ("DFC") for the Trinity Aquifer that authorizes an average thirty-foot decline in the aquifer over the next fifty years; and
WHEREAS, the City and many citizens of western Hays County believe that a thirty-foot decline of the Trinity Aquifer would threaten springs, such as Jacobs Well, property rights of landowners, their property values, and cause harmful impacts on well owners, surface water rights holders and businesses in Wimberley and the surrounding area of Hays County area; and
WHEREAS, the City understands the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (the "HTGCD"), as an alternative to the GMA 9 DFC, has the ability to utilize an adaptive management strategy and create a Specific Groundwater Management Area (the "SGMA") to address local groundwater issues, such as those relating to western Hays County, more specifically Jacobs Well; and
WHEREAS, the HTGCD should involve all affected governmental entities, utility providers and others in an open, public process, if and when, creating a SGMA for Jacobs Well and determining its boundaries, goals and rules.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Wimberley, Texas:
1. Encourages the creation of a Specific Groundwater Management Area forJacobs Well (the "SGMA"), utilizing an adaptive management strategy, to keep creeks, streams, and rivers in western Hays County clean, clear and flowing and to avoid a calamity to the prosperity of Wimberley and the surrounding area inHays County.
2.Requests the use of an open, public process, involving all affected governmental entities, including the City of Wimberley, utility providers and others, when creating a SGMA for Jacobs Well and determining its boundaries, goals and rules.
In 2010, the newly elected members of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District voted by a 3 to 2 majority to endorse the 30' DFC adopted by the GMA 9. Citizens from throughout western Hays County gave impassioned testimony asking the HTGCD to select a lower DFC so that area wells, springs, and creeks would not go dry. The Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) circulated a petition opposing the 30' DFC. The petition was signed by 615 citizens (copy attached).
In November 2011 at the hearing conducted by the TWDB in Wimberley to hear the appeal of the 30' DFC, over 200 citizens and CARD attended the hearing and sent over 160 certified letters and petitions to the TWDB as evidence of their concern with the 30' DFC and its long-term detrimental effects.
On February 15, 2012 the Steering Committee of CARD adopted a Resolution (copy attached) which expressed CARD's continuing opposition to the 30' GMA 9 DFC and supported the creation of a Specific Groundwater Management Area (SGMA) for Jacob's Well and its tributary formations. This Resolution was presented to the Wimberley City Council which has also adopted a Resolution supporting the creation of a SGMA for Jacob's Well.
While CARD has studied the TWDB staff response to the WVWA appeal of the GMA 9 DFC, we do not agree and find it short sighted. There is certainly a responsibility of the TWDB to support growth, but there is an even stronger responsibility of the Board to protect existing homes, business, ranches, farms, and others who are totally dependent on a sustainable supply of groundwater. In the HTGCD, because of the unique legislation which enabled the District, only the large non-exempt pumpers will benefit from this DFC. All others will suffer, property values will decline due to lack of reliable groundwater, and area springs which feed creeks and rivers and support wildlife will go dry.
As a partial solution to the problem caused by the 30' DFC, CARD supports the creation of the SGMA for Jacob's Well and its tributary formations and urges the TWDB to recommend that GMA 9 and the HTGCD work together to create such a management area.
We appreciate the opportunity to address the Board and look forward to a continuing working relationship with Board members and your staff. We request that a copy of this letter and the attachments be distributed to each Board member at the March 1, 2012 meeting.