CARD Opposes Proposal for
Massive Pipeline Through Wimberley Valley
Comments Needed by September 15
For the past year appointed planning groups have been discussing how to spend $2 billion in state water funds approved by voters in 2013. These planning groups are putting together projects they hope will ensure water availability for the next 50+ years. Hays County is part of that planning process and has proposed some very ambitious and expensive projects. However, the Texas Water Development Board is responsible for making final decisions on these projects.
CARD is concerned with a project jointly proposed by two planning groups – Region K and Region L. Hays County is split approximately in half between the two regions. Region K (north) represents those counties that lie within the Colorado River basin and Region L (south) represents those counties that lie within the Guadalupe/Blanco River basin.
Based on planning criteria set by the state, these planning groups are calling for construction of a 36" pipeline extending from San Marcos to Wimberley/Woodcreek along RR 12. From Wimberley, the pipeline would be upsized (made even larger) and extended up RR 12 into Dripping Springs. These pipelines would cost utility customers over $60 million to build and over $6 million annually to operate. The 36" pipeline could carry up to 13 million gallons of water per day, enough to supply 40,000 new households.
Why is CARD concerned with these pipelines being included for possible future low-interest loan funding?
- We question why a large 36" pipeline is being proposed for the state’s 2016 planning cycle when the adopted Hays County Water and Wastewater Plan says no pipeline is needed from San Marcos until after year 2030. That plan also advocates conservation and rainwater collection as top priorities for the future new development for western Hays County, two cost effective water saving methods the new proposals almost ignore.
- The cost of the pipelines and the water they bring in from the east (Carrizo Aquifer groundwater) would be paid by both future and existing water customers. Water bills would certainly skyrocket.
- Generating enough customers for the pipeline’s water would require massive development of new subdivisions along RR 12 and throughout the Wimberley Valley. These pipelines would force intense development in rural areas of Hays County. The CARD Growth Corridors Plan (hayscard.org/transportation.html) calls for more intense development along IH 35 and along US 290, which are already urban and have the necessary infrastructure.
The CARD Growth Corridors Plan recognizes that the interior of Hays County is the recharge zone for the critically important Trinity Aquifer that provides water for thousands of private wells and many public water supply wells. This aquifer recharge zone must not be overdeveloped, which would further impair its already very slow recharge.
Instead of the costly pipelines through the Wimberley Valley, CARD recommends that:
- Region K and L planning groups remove the proposed pipeline (San Marcos to Wimberley/Woodcreek to Dripping Springs) from the current state planning cycle;
- Dripping Springs be served by a pipeline from the east routed from Buda along a north Hays County route where water shortages currently exist. This pipeline would serve the rapid growth occurring there;
- Planning for water infrastructure recognizes the CARD Growth Corridors Plan, which orients new facilities away from areas where lighter rural (rather than urban) development density is the desired development pattern;
- Pumping of the Trinity Aquifer is carefully monitored to prevent overuse. Also, rainwater collection is promoted for new low-density residential development.
- Rainwater collection is strongly promoted and rewarded for new low-density residential development.
Citizen Action is needed by September 15:
Use the sample letter below, or write your own, to contact members of the following groups. Tell them you oppose the 36" pipeline through the Wimberley Valley, and that it should be dropped from the state’s 2016 water plan proposal. Water to Dripping Springs and the US 290 growth corridor should be routed through northern Hays County, not through the Wimberley Valley. Emails and letters are most appropriate.
Hays County Commissioners Court: www.co.hays.tx.us/commissioners-court.aspx
Region L and K project manager Temple McKinnon, firstname.lastname@example.org and Region L and K Team 5 Manager, Clay Shultz, email@example.com
Texas Water Development Board and Exec. Director: www.twdb.texas.gov/about/board/index.aspWimberley and Woodcreek City Council: www.cityofwimberley.com. Select “City Council" and www.cityofwoodcreek.com. Select “Government", then “Council Members
Your own contacts
Sample Word letter on proposed pipeline: (http://hayscard.org/downloads/Sample letter on proposed pipeline.doc)
Sample PDF letter on proposed pipeline: (http://hayscard.org/downloads/Sample letter on proposed pipeline.pdf)
- CARD Steering Committee