It's no surprise to Texas independents that the Big Squeeze goes hand in hand with the Big Freeze. and the ever corroding influence of the two-party monopoly in Texas.
Those who run the City of Austin -- largely Democrats -- have repeatedly rejected any smart and doable strategies to temper its growth to avoid the very crisis the city is in today. Austin’s crisis just hit national news in this CBS-TV report!
In 2011, the GOP dominated Texas Legislature was warned to secure our energy grid as the state continues its growth obsession. In February, the Big Freeze made Texas a national laughing stock while we Texans brace for more ratepayer rape and blackouts.
For decades, municipal, regional and state officials (from both parties) have been repeatedly urged to stop the mining of aquifers to subsidize growth before we have an irreversible groundwater disaster.
The failure to heed the warnings we call the Big Squeeze.
You squeeze a balloon and it bulges. That is, until it pops.
Believe it or not, this is also the stuff of good news!
Good news #1! Texas investigative journalism is alive and kickin’ back. It’s looking like a government cover-up on the Big Freeze if you believe what ace investigative journalist, Jay Root, Houston Chronicle, just wrote about the records Governor Abbott is hiding about it.
Good News #2! On Saturday, May 1, the leader of Austin’s growth chokehold, Mayor Steve Adler, got a good swift kick in the pants. The abysmal failure of his manipulative “strong mayor” proposal went down hard – 14%! (Prop F Fails Spectacularly, the Austin Monitor. We recommend you read both these local Austin publications – The Austin Bulldog and the Austin Independent.)
Good News #3! The San Antonio City election, the first round of which was on May 1, looks promising with 5 progressive candidates and 1 conservative in the June 5th runoff all pledged to take on SAWS Accountability. Also, incumbent and lone Republican on the Council (note: City Council elections in Texas are non-partisan), Clayton Perry, a supporter of a SAWS/Vista Ridge Audit, was handily reelected. Our first San Antonio LIV Chapter, N. SA Independents, helped Perry and will continue in local runoffs as they get ready for the next phase to fight for SAWS Accountability. See KTSA-TV's election Results here.
The Big Squeeze on Aquifers Coming Atcha!
The long-simmering water war is boiling over again – now on sound management of groundwater in counties just 40 miles east of the Capitol Dome. This is the home of the supremely flawed $3 billion Vista Ridge public-private partnership.
Last June, San Antonio’s public water utility, SAWS, got caught dumping up to $3-4 million of Vista Ridge water. Wasting water is illegal in Texas. What happened? As reported by the San Antonio Report, a piddling $105,000 settlement was paid to the guys that permitted Vista Ridge, Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District. And the useless-as-boobs-on-a-boar-hog state agency – Texas Commission for Environmental Quality -- couldn’t bring itself to so much as levy a fine.
Now, our water future is coming off the rails.
Well, hello there….is anyone paying attention?
Currently, groundwater districts through Groundwater Water Management Areas (GMAs) are in process of adopting the Desired Future Conditions (DFCs), which they do every five years. This complex joint planning process boils down to something simple. The districts set the rules for pumping the aquifers based on what aquifer drawdown is considered acceptable over a 50-year period.
This year’s DFC process in Groundwater Management Area 12 (GMA-12, see below) is at ground zero for Vista Ridge impacts. Some groundwater districts in GMA-12 want to ignore the significant damage to landowner wells already underway within just the first year of Vista Ridge’s pumping on a 60-year contract. What’s more, they want to ignore the impact of Vista Ridge on surface water – rivers, streams and tributaries – in this case, on the Colorado River system.
First Public Hearing in GMA-12 on DFCs!
Thursday, June 10th, 2 pm: Details here
The first public hearing held in GMA-12 was called by the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District. Comments are now open through July 19th.
We will let you know about other hearings by members of the GMA-12, listed below.
Memebers of GMA-12:
Lost Pines GCD - Bastrop and Lee Counties
Post Oak Savannah GCD - Burleson and Milam Counties
Brazos Valley GCD - Brazos and Robertson Counties
Fayette County GCD - Fayette County
Mid-East Texas GCD - Freestone, Leon and Madison Counties
Do Your Homework – most of it has been done for you!
Our friends at Environmental Stewardship and the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund have been doing much of our homework on these issues.
Visit these pages for details and then join us for our next LIV Forum on May 20th
AND, please make plans to attend the next LIV virtual forum – The Big Squeeze
Thurs., May 20, 7 pm
Agenda: Updates on the Big Freeze, the Big Squeeze (the water wars), San Antonio’s Runoff City Council Election (June 5) and how to submit comments to GMA-12.
Reply to this message or call us at 512.213.4511
if you wish to attend.
PS Able to do a little dues paying to LIV? Please give what you can or donate some labor. Thank y’all!