Vista Ridge

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Concerned about Vista Ridge? After you peruse this page, we redirect you to this webpage -- -- as a growing coalition in San Antonio is petitioning for a public vote in May 2021!

Whether you are a SAWS ratepayer or an affected landowner, LIV asks for support for the SAWS Accountability Act, which includes an independent audit of the Vista Ridge Water Pipeline Project.

Concerned about your water bill from SAWS? Know that Vista Ridge is responsible for 52% rate hikes "eased" into your bill since 2015. Lodge your complaints with SAWS and, please allow us to document your concerns by calling our hotline at 210.807.7273 or email us at

We highly recommend you watch four speakers -- Stan Mitchell,  Colleen Waring (an affected landowner and former government auditor), Ellen Berky and Reinette King -- respectfully urge the Audit and Accountability Committee chaired by San Antonio City Councilman District 9 John Courage on November 19th, to move the Vista Ridge Resolution. It's 17-minutes of well informed testimony with a punch! Read Waring's constructive suggestion here, followed by LIV-SA's Ellen Berky's comments here and Reinette King's here.

Click on this to watch our Vista Ridge slide show!

Check out our in-depth slide show through about how Vista Ridge was foisted on SAWS ratepayers and landowners 142 miles from San Antonio, in Burleson & Milam counties.


A coalition of rural and urban organizations, since March 2019, has been urging the San Antonio City Council to adopt the Vista Ridge Resolution for an independent audit of Vista Ridge – the $3.4 billion, 142-mile water pipeline, and an ordinance for proper oversight of San Antonio Water System (SAWS). The Council has refused to take action so a petition drive is planned to place a measure -- the SAWS Accountability Act -- on the May 2021 ballot. More here at

► Vista Ridge is far more water than San Antonio can use and is the most expensive water in Texas -- and likely the US. For the benefits of private companies largely involved in real estate development, it's being forced on San Antonio ratepayers, who live in a city with the highest poverty rate in the U.S.

►SAWS’s CEO makes nearly 3 times more than any public water CEO in Texas, $496,000/yr + the usual $100K bonus! And, the leases obtained from landowners were gathered by a man on probation who plead guilty to a $2.4M theft of his oil and gas employer. (Express News, Aug. 20, 2002)

Vista Ridge, Son of Sam.

Vista Ridge is a monstrous project, but SAM is the biggest beast is the force behind it: the push for "growth" at all costs. Rural and urban Texans are catching the drift -- ever rising taxes and fees, homelessness, concentrated poverty and potential harm to critically important water resources.


→ San Antonians, call your City Council Member and Mayor Nirenberg (210.207.7040) to urge an independent audit of Vista Ridge and an ordinance to rein in SAWS, or, they can simply vote to place the SAWS Accountability Act on the May 2021 ballot, foregoing a petition drive. (Visit for the petition.)

→ ALL TEXANS, call Gov. Greg Abbott's hotline at 512-463-2000 (M-F). Calls are best, but if you need to email, reach the Governor at Gov.Texas.Gov. Urge him to use the power of his office to secure a full independent audit and investigation into Vista Ridge and SAWS' role in this project.

→ ALL TEXANS, call your State Representative and State Senator (M-F). Calls are best, but if you need to you can also email them. Go here to find them.

Read the details! Below are the Vista Ridge Resolution Coalition documents sent to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and City Council Members and state officials, including Gov. Abbott, on September 12, 2019. 

→Cover letter to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg

11 page backup document here=> Why Pass the Vista Ridge Resolution and Why Now?

Print out this flier --> Vista Ridge Facts and hand it out or use the share buttons on this page and share through social media.

Click for Media Release!
New Water Coalition Moves on Vista Ridge! Calls for independent managerial, financial and legal audit of Vista Ridge and ordinance to clarify San Antonio Water System's (SAWS) role -- to implement, not direct policy.

I oppose SA hose video imageWatch the video and get ready
to pick up your clipboards!

San Antonio Water System's Rate Advisory Committee (RAC) held it's first meeting on Tuesday, September 24. Their job is to recommend who pays what -- to recommend the rate structure for SAWS ratepayers. It is only a recommendation. SAWS Trustees are free to ignore or adopt RAC recommendations. For whatever reason, SAWS has delayed meetings of the RAC, due to COVID-19. Therefore, they have not met since February 2020 with no meetings yet planned -- as of this writing on May 27.  The RAC is posted under this link at

Background Materials:

Read our position paper:  Vista Ridge: Vista Buena or Vista Mala?

Read our paper on Vista Ridge Project Financial Questions Answered Nov 18 2015

Read this helpful fact sheet from the Hill Country Alliance about Vista Ridge

League Testimony, San Antonio City Council Rate Hikes, November 19, 2015

Homeowners Taxpayer Association of Bexar County Testimony, San Antonio City Council Rate Hikes, November 19. 2015

Texas Tribune coverage of November 19, 2015 SAWS rate hearing

Looking for the 50%+ rate hikes San Antonio is imposing on their ratepayers for Vista Ridge? Rate Hike Charts

Read Dr. Curtis Chubb in the Rivard Report, Nov. 16, 2015: Commentary: Is the Vista Ridge Groundwater Reliable? and his recent report in the Cameron Herald here and here.

Read this letter by SA Council's own appointed Environmental Committee on questions left unanswered over a year after the contract was signed. 

Looking for hydrologist George Rice's report on Vista Ridge?  Click here

To order a yard sign or larger seen above, go here.

Click here to see a much better map for the Vista Ridge pipeline than the one on this page.

Be sure to visit our News page which contains lots of up-to-date information about Vista Ridge.

On October 30, 2014, after just two weeks of playing hide and seek with a 616-page $3.4B contract, the San Antonio City Council voted unanimously to ram the Vista Ridge contract through. In our view here at LIV, Vista Ridge is a massive giveaway to the real estate lobby that spells a retreat by SAWS (San Antonio's water utility) on its status as a leader in water conservation. Watch the video posted on this page to see multiple aquifers, depended on by millions of central Texans, threatened by mass conveyance projects to fuel real estate development in areas without enough local supply. This, we call "the California water model," a proven disaster as California scrambles to reverse its over 50 years of mistaken policy.

More on why Vista Ridge can do such harm:

  • Start with these dueling op-eds by our own Michele Gangnes (Lee County water activist) and San Antonio Joe Krier (District 9).
  • Vista Ridge is a risky public-private partnership, go here and a bad deal for urban and rural Texas, go here.
  • This Texas Tribune piece by San Antonio's Amy Hardberger gives an excellent overview.
  • Vista Ridge' is a big real estate grab to continue developing in areas without water, go here.
  • San Antonio ratepayers don't want the rate hikes to pave over their own sensitive Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, go here and here.
  • Vista Ridge could damage the critical aquifer of the Post Oak Savannah and the Lost Pines, go here and here.
  • A bit of San Antonio news coverage on Vista Ridge, go here.
  • Did you see this great KLRU-TV water special? Watch for the Stop the Water Grab sign as our friend, Andy Meyer of Paige, does a great interview, go here.
  • Video of the October 30, 2014 public hearing before the San Antonio City Council and San Antonio Express-News coverage here.
  • For the fascinating and rather sordid history of water leasing that preceded Vista Ridge, we suggest you read this incredible reprint of a 2006 article in the San Antonio News Express on the Trans-Texas Corridor News blog.


  • We are developing plans along the 142-mile pipeline and for the 2015 legislative session.
  • If you use Facebook, be sure to like our page and stand by to comment, like and share!
  • Make a donation and join to the League of Independent Voters! Learn more here.

Use the share buttons at the end of this page and get your friends across Texas to slow down the Vista Ridge water and money grab now! Wanna help? Call us at 512.213.4511 or go to our contact section.



  1. I got involved in Vista Ridge issue late and do not have any experience in these issues. But after experiencing the process, if the Vista Ridge is to be stopped; the cost burden has to be shifted to those that will benefit from it the most, the suits. The present cost burden is discriminatory, lower income people are bearing too much of the cost. Plus the cost should be born by each county the pipeline transits through. If this happens, you will get peoples attention. Then sanity will prevail. I hope I can make it to your meeting on the 22nd. Thanks

  2. I wonder if charter amendments could block water sales to the small cities the marketeers expect to sell to. Worth consideing, I think.

    Local Ballot Initiatives is a 30 page booklet that explains the city initiative process reflecting on research that looked at all 50 states.
    The doc can be downloaded and copies can be had at no cost by contacting the Lucy Burns Institute in Madison, Wisconsin: Note pages 11 and 12.

    Barry Klein

  3. SAWS will make a presentation at the Highland Park Neighborhood Association Meeting on Wed., Nov. 18, 2015 @ 6:30 P.M., 901 Rigsby.

    1. Thanks for the heads up. Can you go and ask them why they’re losing 32 million gallons per day and they want ratepayers to pay for an additional 44 million gallons per day for Vista Ridge?

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