Tuesday is the day for us to STOP AQUA TEXAS!
Together we can save Wimberley Valley:
Aqua Texas is NOT a Done Deal!
Come to the Texas Water Development Board-required Public Hearing:
5:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Wimberley Community Center
Before the current city council can gift Wimberley's future to Aqua Texas, it needs the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) loan. Because of the city council's intention to switch from the original city plan to Aqua Texas, TWDB has not agreed to continue that loan. TWDB wants to know your opinion, and has forced city council to hold this official public hearing to hear from you.
Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) believes that switching to Aqua Texas will lead to:
- Unwanted over-development of the beauty and open spaces of Wimberley Valley;
- Uncontrolled development within the City limits and the ETJ (without needing our CCN), because the City cannot deny development projects and must provide wastewater services where those services are available;
- Faster depletion of our Trinity Aquifer that will affect our springs, streams, trees, and property values;
- Loss of local control over how the system is operated and used, what businesses are allowed here, and how sewer customers are served;
- Loss of the uniqueness that brought most of us to this valley, and also brings visitors' dollars to our economy;
- Loss of the clean, recycled Type 1 water needed for Blue Hole Park.
- A single (unsleeved) and unmetered pipe carrying raw sewage under Cypress Creek near Blue Hole, meaning that any sewage leaking into the aquifer won’t be detected until it shows up in your wells.
CARD urges you to attend this meeting to tell TWDB: The TWDB loan, originally granted for the city-owned, "One Water" wastewater system, should not be used to give our future to a Wall Street water giant - notorious for its bad environmental history - that will change our valley forever.
The original city plan and plant can still be achieved.
This is CARD's Call to Action: Be there Tuesday to show your support. Just your presence shows your concern. Bring your friends.
Want to speak? You have a right to speak at this meeting if you live in the Wimberley Valley! Testimony at this meeting will be reviewed by Texas Water Development Board.
If you want more information, keep reading.
Early in 2018, after many years of hard work by several City Councils, Wimberley began construction of a fully funded city-managed sewer plant to clean up pollution in Cypress Creek downtown. The plant was located adjacent to Blue Hole Park so the cleaned water could be recycled on the park's land, making possible long-planned beautification and new play fields.
The plant was designed, through intense citizen input, to produce not just Type 1 water, but the highest level of Type 1 recycled water ever produced by a Texas small town plant. The plant had numerous safeguards to prevent the need for discharge into local streams.
Despite all the fear mongering, this is a stream-safe plant.
Because of its environmental benefits, the city sewer plan was funded by a low-interest, $5.5 million loan from the TWDB. There was even $245,343 in loan forgiveness from TWDB because of the environmental qualities of the original plan. The users of the system - mainly downtown merchants - would repay the loan over 30 years. No taxes were needed!
The city-operated plan also received two grants of $1 million each to help pay for the system. $2,000,000 given to the City of Wimberley to make that excellent plan a reality.
Construction of the city plant began in early spring 2018. However, despite repeated assurances by candidates during the spring 2018 election campaign that they would not change the original plan, the new council and mayor elected in May 2018 immediately began working to kill the city-operated plant and substitute pipelines to the inferior Aqua Texas plant, giving control of Wimberley's system, and future, to that private corporation.
In doing so, they have already:
- Lost the two $1 million grants, withdrawn because the new plan - and current Aqua Texas plant - do not have the environmental qualities of the original city plan and plant;
- Lost the $245,343 loan forgiveness that was granted for the environmental quality of the original city plan;
- Cost the city $200,000 in settlement fees with Black Castle, the company building the original plant, plus previous payments of $345,000, plus the loss and cost of already completed work;
- Created increased costs required by the changes in the pipelines that went to the original city plant, and now must be rerouted;
- Delayed the downtown sewer system, originally scheduled to be operating by early 2019, while Cypress Creek pollution continues;
- Put Wimberley in financial jeopardy, probably for years to come.
This irresponsible switch to Aqua Texas has not just cost Wimberley financially and environmentally, it has damaged our reputation with state agencies and other entities that have been observing this fiasco.
The founding goal of CARD was to protect the precious water that is an essential part of the beauty and environmental health of the Wimberley Valley. CARD originally supported the City's sewer plan because it would clean up Cypress Creek downtown, polluted by decades of leaking septic systems, with a modern, efficient sewer. The system was designed with a One Water approach to decrease use of our diminishing Trinity Aquifer. The City plan did this by cleaning and reusing downtown water at Blue Hole Park, thus saving strain on our aquifer in two ways: reusing the downtown water and making it unnecessary to pull more water from the Aquifer for Blue Hole.
CARD's support became even more urgent when the Aqua Texas threat entered the picture. Not only would that mean the downtown water was not re-used to beautify Blue Hole (only a private golf course), but that Aqua Texas would be able to drive the massive development of the Wimberley Valley that people here do not want. That development - in an area already water-stressed - would greatly speed up the draining of the aquifer and with it the aquifer-fed springs that fill our creeks and beautify our valley.
Make no mistake: Aqua Texas and Aqua America, beholden to its stockholders, cannot make a profit from Wimberley's small downtown sewer. Aqua Texas can only profit from Wimberley if it can drive development in the Wimberley Valley like that seen in towns like Kyle.
- CARD Steering Committee
CARD publications are written and approved by CARD Steering Committee members. We are listed on our About page. Archives and more information are available on this website