Burleson County landowners challenge project that would outsource groundwater

Published: Mar. 28, 2017 at 9:55 PM CDT
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Burleson and Milam County residents showed up at a meeting in Milano Tuesday to oppose an amendment to a permit that would take water from their area to San Antonio.

Some of the permits to drill wells throughout the counties were approved years ago. Tuesday a representative for Blue Water Vista Ridge asked the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District to amend the permit and let the group relocate 11 of the 33 wells they were approved to build.

Landowners who live above the Carizo-Wilcox and Simms Borough Aquifer said they don't want Blue Water tapping into their water source at all.

They're concerned about the company depleting the water, even though Blue Water said changes to the original permit will not increase the amount of water pumped from the ground.

"All of these wells can be drilled where they are, if the application was not allowed,” said Paul Terrill of Blue Water. “All these wells can be drilled. This is for the convenience of the landowner, and to accommodate the topography."

Amy Hinnert, Caldwell resident, addressed the board in protest of the amendment.

"How are my rights being protected,” asked Hinnert. “Your job as the conservation board is to protect the rights of the water for those who have leased, and for those who have not."

Leaders with the conservation district said they are already establishing and enforcing rules that would protect the water across the area.

"Our permitting system has been consistent since day one. All of these permits that exist are consistent with that system and our rules," said Gary Westbrook, Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District.

Tuesday the district also unveiled a plan to increase the number of monitoring wells by 50 before the end of the summer. Those will ensure the district's ability to gather data on the groundwater levels around Burleson and Milam Counties.

No decision was reached Tuesday. The board wants a chance to review more information. They will render a decision at next Tuesday’s meeting.