Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Landowners win lawsuit challenging golf course development next to Jacob’s Well

District Judge Dwight L Peschel ruled today in Hays County District Court that Wimberley Valley Watershed Association and local landowners were wrongly denied their right to a contested case hearing on a groundwater pumping permit for a golf course next to Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, Texas.  
Jacob's Well, Wimberley, Texas

On Febuary 21st, 2011 Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation district approved a permit for up to 162,000,000 gallons of water over in a single year for a golf course irrigation permit in the vicinity of Jacob’s Well.  WVWA attorney Malcolm Harris said “This level of pumping would equal sixteen months of Jacob’s Well’s flow under current flow conditions at one half of a cubic foot per second.” 

The Landowners and WVWA requested that the agency hold a contested case hearing to present scientific data showing the negative impacts on local aquifers and individual water wells and the groundwater that feeds spring flow to Jacob’s Well.

Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District denied the request to have contested case hearing and WVWA  joined landowners to file suit in Hays County District Court challenging the agency ruling and the issuance of the permit. Today, the court found that the decision by the administrative agency denying to Plaintiffs a Contested Case Hearing on the WSP application was “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion.” The Court reversed the action of the agency and sent the matter back to HTGCD for further proceedings in accordance with the Court’s Judgment. 

Wimberley Springs Partners owns and operates the Quicksand Golf Course in the City of Woodcreek and is seeking to pump millions of gallons to develop a second golf course from five wells in the area. The golf course developer also seeks to have the right to transfer the irrigation water to municipal use without having to apply for a new permit.

The WVWA and landowners are concerned that additional pumping in the area will damage the declining Trinity Aquifer that supplies the water to Cypress Creek and local wells. It is known that the aquifer is already over-appropriated, as more water is currently pumped than annually recharges the aquifer in the Texas Hill Country region. 

Executive Director David Baker said, “We are interested in looking for ways to decrease our dependence on groundwater in this area. The Trinity Aquifer is over pumped and adding a golf course development adjacent to Jacob’s Well will cause Cypress Creek to dry up.  It may even happen this summer given current conditions.” Cypress Creek and the Blanco River are dependent on spring flows from Jacob’s Well and these same waters recharge the Edwards Aquifer downstream and contribute to spring flows at San Marcos Springs and impact Barton Springs during drought conditions.

WVWA attorney Malcolm Harris said, “ We hope the ruling will open the door for Hays Trinity and Wimberley Springs Partners to work with the local community to develop solutions.  We need a process using good science, drought management and alternative water supply from rainwater harvesting to restore the spring flow at Jacob’s Well and maintain healthy groundwater water supply for area residents.”


Malcolm Harris , David Baker  (512-785-8950)


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