*The Battle of Bear Creek* --- an issue of water access rightsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

*The Battle of Bear Creek* --- an issue of water access rights
 


22 July 2008 at 6:47:43 AM
pstern

Simply stated, the document presented in the previous blog (link below) contains factual information pertaining to the development, activities and legal actions regarding water access rights in Hays County sought by the developer and/or representatives of Belterra (a residential development) in the quest to obtain the legal rights to discharge water into Bear Creek.

http://www.statesman.com/sitelife/content/sitelife/persona.html?newspaperUserId=2074324&plckController=PersonaBlog&plckScript=personaScript&plckElementId=personaDest&plckPersonaPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a2074324Post%3a5d3d780f-3ee5-45d5-a878-6f82bc9807e0&sid=sitelife.statesman.com

Hays County Water Control & Improvement District #1 (HCWCID#1) is responsible for protecting, conserving and planning for the water needs of hundreds of central Texans who live in Belterra.

http://www.hayscountywater.com/

The water district has developed a two-step responsible reuse plan for Belterra that will conserve groundwater, protect water quality and plan for the community's long-term water needs.

Part of the plan seeks a permit to discharge up to 500,000 gallons of (what the water district terms) clean-recycled water into Bear Creek.

.

The water district states that "the discharge is just a 'relief valve' for those occasions when heavy rains saturate the soil and prevent irrigation.  On most days, the Water District will be able to reuse the clean-recycled water to irrigate more than 150 acres of parks and trails in the Belterra community and it will not flow into Bear Creek."

Hays Community Action Network (HaysCAN) is against the permit.  The organization's  mission is to "...observe and participate in governmental decision processes that impact the public interest, and to inform, educate and assist those citizens wishing to participate more fully in the public decisions that impact their daily lives, their property values, and the quality of life in their communities."

 http://www.hayscan.org/index.php

According to several involved in the meetings that are held looking to secure the permit a question remains "...why a California developer using Texas attorneys would spend so much money to avoid pursuing a wastewater permit originally agreed to by downstream property owners."

According to one source I spoke with, who requested anonymity:

"From the get-go the develop representatives have operate with us in bad faith.  This initially surfaced when the amendment was filed.  In the original permit the developer entered into an agreement with the downstream property owners (Bear Creek Property Owners organization) that said the developer would notify them if the developer proposed any changes in the permit.  At all the HCWCID#1 Board meetings there was no discussion of the pending permit amendment.  Further, when an open records request was made of the board meeting minutes, there was no record found of the amendment or of any authorization by the board for the engineer, Robby Calegari of CMA (whose father is a state senator) to proceed with the amendment application --- a clear violation of the agreement and of the laws."

Apparently, in all the meetings, discussions and mediation there is a lot of bad feelings and distrust among attendees.

In a unanimous vote 4-0, Hays County Commissioners after much discussion rejected the plan prepared and requested by Belterra reps.

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/07/01/0701sewage.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=52

The "Battle of Bear Creek" is far from over.  Participants on both sides of the table are distrustful and will continue to argue and be involved in the legal actions that are sure to result from this water access rights quagmire.

The matter will go to administrative law judge and then to state environmental agency.

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1 - pstern   22 Jul 2008 @ 2:50:36 PM 

This is a comment I just received from Dr. Charles O'Dell of HaysCAN:

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The Belterra utility district permit application to direct discharge treated effluent into Bear Creek has absolutely NOTHING to do with, "protecting, conserving and planning for the water needs of hundreds of central Texans who live in Belterra."

It has EVERYTHING to do with making more money for the California developer of Belterra.

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is responsible for providing Belterra residents (through the Belterra utility district) with safe clean water from the Colorado River.

The Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) is responsible for protecting and managing equitably the quality and quantity of groundwater that the Belterra utility district pulls from its wells.

The Belterra utility district could and should take each gallon of LCRA and well water that each Belterra household uses and flushes, treat it and then reuse it through irrigation along the Belterra road rights of way, in their parks, open spaces, lawns and in the subsurface drip irrigation fields in Belterra that the developer asked for and regulators approved for disposing of their treated effluent.

That highly touted "Live wide open" master planned Belterra community the California developer promoted isn't as wide open and planned as the developer led us to believe.

The California developer now wants to use Bear Creek as a disposal ditch to rid Belterra of its treated effluent the utility district doesn't want to reuse on-site.

The Belterra utility district board seems more interested in dumping treated effluent into Bear Creek than in conserving water usage in Belterra.

That suits the California developer's goal of more profits just fine.

Belterra residents gained a majority on utility district board in the May election and they should say NO to the developer and insist the Belterra community do the right thing, and the smart thing...conserve water usage and reuse ALL of their treated effluent beneficially in Belterra, NOT use Bear Creek as an open ditch to flush their excess effluent.

Making that responsible decision would save them and us a lot of money because direct discharge into Bear Creek just ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!
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