Save Texas Springs

 

it is time for an amendment

   We are convinced it is time for the State Constitution to be amended to provide the protection against drainage of private property in groundwater landowners are entitled to under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. Texas springs also need more specific protection as an irreplaceable natural resource. The "Day" opinion in 2012 declared groundwater to be private property protected against taking by the Constitution.


Both the rule of capture and state law governing groundwater conservation districts prevent there being protection from wells and springs being pumped dry.


TEXAS LANDOWNERS COUNCIL refuses to go along to get along concerning groundwater rights and groundwater conservation.  We drafted HB 2398 in 2011 to require district rules to be consistent with the takings provisions of the constitution; HB 1755, in 2011, to require aquifers to be managed as a whole; HB 3250, in 2015, to halt draw down if it was drawing down wells.  All of these were killed by the House Natural Resource Committee, which is dominated by San Antonio Water Supply (SAWS), Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts (TAGD), Texas Municipal League (TML), and other interests determined to take damaging amounts of groundwater from rural Texas.


The Legislature has refused to enact measures for real conservation requiring the people of Texas to demand a Constitutional amendment that will enact the needed conservation.


In addition to amending the State Constitution, state law needs to be changed to reduce the groundwater production allowed for domestic and livestock exempt wells on tracts smaller than 10 acres.  For example, many permitted wells are limited to two acre feet per acre per year. For five acres this would be 3,260,000 gallons per year. An exempt well, in many districts, may pump 25,000 gallons per day on tracts as small as two acres, which could amount to 9,000,000 gallons per year.  The average water use for a single family residence is 300 gallons per day, or 110,000 gallons per year.




WHAT YOU CAN DO to Help us get the SAVE TEXAS SPRINGS AND WELLS CONSERVATION AMENDMENT introduced in the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature:


Join Texas Landowners Council.  Other, more powerful organizations refuse to support legislation to protect Texas Springs and wells, and support legislation facilitating pumping them dry instead. Without more members and financial support, we can do nothing and nothing will be done.


Put a TLC SAVE TEXAS SPRINGS sticker on your car and wear a TLC SAVE TEXAS SPRINGS Cap.


Schedule TLC to speak to groups and organizations you participate in to present our proposed Constitutional Amendment.


Ask organizations you belong to, to commit to support the SAVE TEXAS SPRINGS AND WELLS CONSERVATION AMENDMENT in 2021.









PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT


Section 59 Article XVI, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding subsection (b) (1) to read as follows:


(b) (1). Conservation of Groundwater


It is hereby declared a public right and duty to prevent depletion of groundwater, and associated reduction of production capability of an aquifer at any particular location.


Ownership of Groundwater:  It is recognized that groundwater is private property, being part of the land, with the owners of land having the right to produce an equal amount per acre of land overlying a particular aquifer in amounts that will not reduce the production capability of aquifers on another’s land.


Preservation of Spring Flow.  It is hereby declared a public right and duty to preserve the rate of flow of the perennial springs of the State.


Groundwater Conservation Districts shall be created, with boundaries including sufficient portions of aquifers to effectively manage for conservation, to establish production rates consistent with the rights of owners of groundwater and to prevent the depletion of aquifers.