Thursday, September 19, 2013

LCRA Votes to Cut Off Bay/Fisherman; Prepares for Worse Drought

LCRA Board Voted 9/6 to cut off life support to Matagorda Bay  
and fishermen rather than request TCEQ
to immediately declare a  
Drought Worse than Drought of Record

LCRA Board to votes to seek more groundwater from
Lost Pines GCD to sell to the City of Bastrop 

Folks, according to the discussion at the LCRA Board meeting yesterday we are about 20 days ..... 20 days .... 20 days .... away from a "Drought Worse than Drought of Record" (DWDR) declaration in the Colorado River Basin. 
Unless we get very substantial rainfall above the Highland Lakes NOW, life as you have known it in our basin is about to change dramatically, especially for LCRA water customers.  The DWDR declaration will come when the combined storage in the Highland Lakes reaches 600,000 acre-feet (30%).  As of today, the lakes are at 638,000 acre-feet (32%) just 38,000 acre-feet above the trigger point.  See left side-bar below.

"During serious drought conditions all water users should share the pain.  However, this vote unfairly seeks to cut off flows from the Highland Lakes to Matagorda Bay without imposing any shared sacrifice on other water users," said Jennifer Walker of the Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club.  With this action the FIRM water customers (those who pay full price for water) get 100% of their water while Matagorda Bay and the fishermen and residents who depend on the bay get ZERO (0%). 

The LCRA staff will now prepare an emergency request and send it to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for approval.  This process is expected to take about 15-20 days. 

"Cutting off the life support flows for Matagorda Bay without requiring serious cutbacks on lawn watering is not fair or consistent with state law," opined Myron Hess, water lawyer and Manager of Texas Water Programs for the National Wildlife Federation. 

"TCEQ's rules are very clear in requiring that an applicant for emergency relief of this sort must show that there is "no feasible, practicable, alternative" to suspending environmental conditions," wrote Hess in a press release. "LCRA can't meet that test because the LCRA hasn't taken adequate actions to conserve water and avoid the need to suspend or reduce flows for the bay."

Environmental Stewardship supports Hess' plea that the TCEQ should deny LCRA's application and require LCRA to manage all water demands equitably.  Matagorda bay and the people who depend on it should not be required to shoulder the pain of the drought without more shared sacrifice by other water users.   We will advise you when to take ACTION on this item. 

LCRA seeking groundwater from Lost Pines GCD -  In a separate motion, the LCRA Board approved a request by staff that will allow the LCRA to prepare a request (agenda item 14) that the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District amend its permit to allow it to sell 10,000 ac-ft/yr of groundwater to the City of Bastrop.  However, in personal discussions with Mike Talbot, Bastrop City Manager, he was very surprised and displeased with this action by the LCRA.  He said that the city had written a letter asking to have discussions on possible sources of water from LCRA but had not gotten enough information from the staff to move forward on any action.  Stay tuned.

To learn more about WATER ISSUES in our REGION and the STATE 
Plan to Attend 
Independent Texans Convention 
9 am to 9 pm this Saturday, September 21 
Bastrop Convention Center 
1408 Chestnut Street, Bastrop 
Steve Box
Executive Director
Environmental Stewardship
P.O. Box 1423
Bastrop, TX 78602   

No comments:

Post a Comment