Be sure to read the Texas Tribune's story: Wimberley Groundwater Protection Faces Challenge from El Paso Democrat.
|Texas District 75|
It may have something to do with farmers in the El Paso lower valley but only partially. They control the powerful and unaccountable El Paso County Water District #1. The Water District's office is in Clint, part of the 75th District. John Fleck, the best water blogger in the West, reported just today that water from Elephant Butte is again running south but that this is the third year in a row that water has not been released until May and it is almost June.
However, "Bloody" Mary Gonzalez may want to kill the bill for the sake of other interests as well. In his blog post yesterday, Max Powers points the finger at Woody Hunt who, Powers believes, has an interest in Electro Purification. The Hunts deny that.
I'm only guessing but I think that what is behind Rep. Gonzalez's objection to HB 3405 has everything to do with the Rule/Right of Capture in the State of Texas. Think of it this way. We all live on top of a big lake. You own a little piece on one side of the lake and I own a piece on the other side. I stick a straw in the lake and begin drawing water. Right of Capture allows me to suck-up every last drop in the lake even that which is right beneath your rubber ducky.
Certainly lower valley farmers who are drawing less and less water from the Rio Grande have to depend on wells. But so do others.
The El Paso Water Utilities also must depend more on underground water. Although their first attempt was unsuccessful, they continue to drill near Fort Hancock, Texas which is in Hudspeth County. Hudspeth County has a water conservation district. If people in Hays County can protect their water from Electro Purification, can people in Hudspeth protect their water from the EPWU?
At a recent meeting a representative of the EPWU became visibly upset when someone wanted to discuss having a water conservation district in El Paso County. The representative could give no reason opposing such a district and only said that he and the other person would have to agree to disagree. What's the fear?
But the EPWU is not the only entity drilling in Hudspeth. Sure Hunt has water rights around Dell City; but Esperanza Water Service Co. Inc., a Jobe privately-owned company that supplies water in East El Paso County as well as in Hudspeth drills in Hudspeth County as well. Billie Jobe is the President.
|The Hueco Bolson|
One last question - a legal one: does Right of Capture begin when someone buys a piece of land above the "lake" - a vested right - or does it only begin when someone drills a well on their land? That's a current argument in the State of Texas. But what it means is this. EPWU, Esperanza, etc. are not so much concerned about existing wells but future wells as well.