THE SAGA OF A GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT FOR THE WESTERN TRAVIS COUNTY PORTION OF THE HILL COUNTRY PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA
In 1990 the Trinity Aquifer Hill Country Area was studied by the Texas Water Commission and identified as an area experiencing critical groundwater problems. The study recommended the designation of an eight-county area in central Texas as critical areas, including all of Bandera, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, and Kerr counties, and portions of Travis, Hays, and Comal counties. In 1997 these areas were renamed as PGMAs. In subsequent years, a GCD was not formed because of the lack of sufficient public interest. Senate Bill 2 (2001) mandated that the Commission create GCDs in designated PGMAs, or recommend adding the PGMAs to existing GCDs. Between 2007 and 2009, legislation that would have annexed southwest Travis County into the BSEACD was defeated. In 2010, the TCEQ issued a report recommending the Commission issue an order to create a new single GCD that would group western Comal County and southwestern Travis County with the existing Hays-Trinity GCD. This effort ended in referral to the State Office of Administrative hearings (SOAH). Since 2010, the GCD creation effort has been through several iterations of abatements and unsuccessful legislative bills.
2016 efforts include passage of a resolution by the Travis County Commissioner’s Court to establish guiding principles that would result in the formation of a GCD that would provide viable management of the Trinity Aquifer in southwestern Travis County and the continued legislative remedies promised for the 85th legislative Session. In the interim, groundwater management of the Trinity Aquifer in western Travis County does not exist. In addition, western Travis County has no representation in regional decisions (GMA) on groundwater availability.