The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association and a group of concerned landowners filed suit in 2011 to confirm that they are entitled to a contested case hearing to challenge a permit for Wimberley Springs Partners to pump 163,000,000 gallons of water from the aquifer in the vicinity of Jacob’s Well. (More details on the well locations) Hydrologic data indicates that such an amount of groundwater pumping above Jacob’s Well will cause aquifer levels to drop and cause the spring to stop flowing in the future. The permit was allowed to go through without performing an aquifer test on the wells being considered for use.
The HTGCD Board failed to require the developer to perform the aquifer test that is mandatory under district rules. 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 by 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 municipal 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, 2011 deadline for a hearing request until after the newly imposed deadline date had passed. WVWA and the other Plaintiffs intend to show that their requests for a contested case hearing were timely under the Rules as interpreted by the District at the time the requests were submitted. Plaintiffs further contend that the denial of a contested case hearing violated Plaintiffs due process rights, was arbitrary and capricious, and constituted a violation of the District’s own rules. Moreover, the Plaintiffs seek to show the Court that 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. It is anticipated that a new hearing date will be set in the fall of 2012.