Well, Well, Well

Texas Tribune and 'Statesman' feud over water story

Jim Blair of Bee Cave Drilling, circa July 2011
Jim Blair of Bee Cave Drilling, circa July 2011
Photo courtesy of Ramon Martinez

It's daggers lightly drawn between the Austin American-Statesman and the Texas Tribune today, with bragging rights for breaking the story that wealthy Travis County residents are drilling water wells on their property.

So who was it? The Statesman? The Tribune? Or some mysterious third publication?

On Sunday, Tribune reporters Jay Root and Neena Satija co-authored the article "In Drought, Abbott Keeps Lawn Green by Drilling" about the explosion in rich West Austin residents tapping into the water on their grounds, and its impact on the Edwards Aquifer.

But lo! Yesterday afternoon the Statesman's AASInvestigates Twitter feed blasted out about "The Texas Tribune's familiar story on private well drilling and Greg Abbott."

Familiar how? Follow their link and Statesman reporter Eric Dexheimer praises the Tribune for "an excellent story this weekend." He continues, "We thought it was such a good story, in fact, that we broke it nearly a year and a half ago." The Statesman then provides a link and, yup, in June 2012 they ran a story entitled "More Austinites drilling private wells to water lawns." In it, reporter Dave Harmon interviewed well-drilling firm Bee Cave Drilling about the explosion in rich West Austin residents tapping into the water on their grounds, and its impact on the Edwards Aquifer.

Cue the sound of Texas journos ripping open microwave popcorn and waiting for two news institutions to throw down.

But hang on. Bee Cave Drilling. Why does that name sound familiar? Oh, yes, because reporter Ramon Martinez interviewed their staff for the Chronicle's article "The Law(ns) of the Land" about … hang on, that can't be right ... the explosion in rich West Austin residents tapping into the water on their grounds, and its impact on the Edwards Aquifer. Wait, now this must be wrong. He wrote that in July 2011?

Huh.

For those of you interested (and considering how regularly this story keeps bubbling back to the surface, that will be a lot of you), our own Amy Smith has written a major piece on the developments in this story since we first wrote about it two years ago. Pick up this week's issue, hitting news stands Thursday, and read it.

READ MORE
More Texas Tribune
Wallace Hall Has a List
Wallace Hall Has a List
UT System regent claims conspiracy as grand jury imminent

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 4, 2014

Tribune Festival Notes
Tribune Festival Notes
Legislative aftermath: Hard to run a state without revenue

Michael King, Sept. 26, 2011

More Austin American Statesman
Don't You Start Me Talking
Don't You Start Me Talking
Michael Corcoran sounds off on his recent retirement

Austin Powell, June 30, 2011

Statesman Purchases In Fact Daily
Statesman Purchases In Fact Daily
IFD editor Jo Clifton explains sale

Michael King, March 29, 2010

More by Richard Whittaker
Austin Collectors Show Off Their Toys
Austin Collectors Show Off Their Toys
Lights, camera, action figures!

July 29, 2016

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Texas Tribune, Austin American Statesman, Twitter, Drought, Wells, Drilling, West Austin, Feud, Breaking News, AASInvestigates, Ramon Martinez, Jay Root

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)