The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association and a group of concerned landowners are asking the 207th Judicial Court to confirm that the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District denied concerned citizens due process by rejecting their request for a hearing to contest a golf course and municipal groundwater permit for up to 163,000,000 gallons of water. Hydrologic data indicates that this additional amount of groundwater pumping above Jacob’s Well will cause aquifer levels to drop and cause the spring to stop flowing in the future. It is difficult to assess the full impact of the additional drawdown without performing an aquifer test on the wells being considered for use. The HTGCD issued the permit on Feb. 21st 2011 without publishing the district’s recommendations or deadlines.
Additionally, the district failed to require the developer to perform the mandatory aquifer test that is required under current district rules. The HTGCD rule 11 states that “Each applicant for a new well operating permit shall perform an aquifer test and submit a report as part of the operating permit application.” An aquifer test was never performed and the permit was approved via a split 3-2 board vote and in spite of broad public opposition. Numerous citizens protested the golf course and the permit conditions as written by the developer. The permit allows for the transfer of 80,000,000 gallons of irrigation water to residential use with no further consideration on the impact to current water supply wells or the spring flow to Jacob’s Well, Cypress Creek and the Blue Hole swimming area downstream.
In this case, the public was not provided notice of a February 21 meeting deadline to submit a hearing request. Such a failure violated the local residents due process rights, was arbitrary and capricious, and constituted a violation of the District’s own rules. Moreover, the Board’s 3-2 vote decision to reverse its deadline interpretation after-the-fact meets the very definition of that which is arbitrary and capricious, violating the due process and due-course-of-law clauses of the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, and amounts to a gross abuse of discretion.
Please consider attending the hearing on Monday August 13th to show support for your local water rights and the fair and balanced allocation of water. Our future water supply and livelihood depends on responsible management of our limited water resources. To view the full Motion for Summary Judgment Response please click here.