The Austin Water Wars

RECEIVED Tue., Sept. 2, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Thank you for featuring our city’s water challenges last week [“Becoming Drought Tolerant,” News, Aug. 29]. Your piece was generally a nice overview. However, it did not tell the reader about the important and interesting water fights raging right here in River City, and all around us. Hopefully, you were just setting the stage for a series on Austin’s water wars. To paraphrase, these water battles are too important to leave to the experts.
    A couple of corrections are needed. In reference to the city’s recent water planning task force, the author writes that “contracting with new groundwater suppliers is perhaps the least onerous [of potential new supplies for the city].” This is the opposite of the task force’s recommendations. Unanimously, the task force recommended in favor of prioritizing water efficiency, reuse, and locally sourced water and against expensive groundwater imports. (For context, San Antonio is considering groundwater imports at a cost of over $3 billion to its ratepayers.)
    The author also confuses the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer in southern Travis County and northern Hays County, regulated by the “BSEACD” groundwater district, with an unregulated portion of the Trinity Aquifer in western Travis County. The Berne’s wells that went dry are in the unregulated Trinity in western Travis County.
    In short, building a water efficient economy is the only affordable and sustainable path forward.
Bill Bunch
Executive Director
Save Our Springs Alliance
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