Summary of Board Decision
On December 12, 2019 at 4:00 pm at the Travis County Manchaca Fire Hall during its Regular Meeting, the Board of Directors denied the request from TESPA for a rehearing of the Needmore Water LLC permit. The permit is granted and considered final and appealable effective as of 12/12/19. A press release was issued with statements from Director Mary Stone and President Blayne Stansberry.
On July 29, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. at the City of Buda City Council Chambers the Board convened a special called meeting to hold a public hearing on the conversion of the Needmore Water LLC Temporary Permit to a Regular Permit. View the staff presentation here. The Board voted to grant Needmore a Regular permit with special provisions in the amount of 289,080,000; the motion passed 5-0. This amount is the maximum production capacity that Needmore was eligible to request under the statutory requirements of H.B. 3405. Needmore is required to comply with the drought curtailments of a Historical Trinity Production Permit as well as the terms outlined in the proposed Special Provisions.
The special provisions approved by the Board are a set of response measures, conditions, and requirements that are designed to be protective of aquifer conditions and to avoid unreasonable impacts to existing well owners. The Board and staff believe that these management strategies and safeguards will serve to protect all wells owners and the aquifer. The Special Provisions focus on the following areas:
- Collecting real-time data from the Amos well to monitor water level depths over time;
- Implementing pumping reductions (up to 100% curtailment) indexed to levels in the Amos well. If unforeseen circumstances occur and unreasonable impacts cannot be avoided through temporary production curtailments, The Board may amend the permit to consider the following actions: permit amendment and hearing, temporary cessation, permit reduction, or voluntary mitigation
Summary of Special Provisions
The District has the ability and authority to set special permit provisions that serve to protect private property rights of all groundwater users by conserving, protecting, and managing the groundwater resources within the District. Special provisions are critical management and policy tools that incorporates elements of adaptive management and allows the District to more effectively respond to new data and information using best available science. The District’s management tools include production permit phases, compliance monitoring plans, avoidance and mitigation measures, index wells with water level triggers, and drought curtailments.
Through its own scientific evaluations (Aquifer Testing & Modeling) the District found that at full production capacity, and during severe drought conditions, drawdown from Needmore Well D is modeled to cause well interference on surrounding supply wells. Because of the potential for unreasonable impacts to wells, the General Manager recommended special provisions in the permit that serve as a set of response measures, conditions, and requirements that are designed to be protective of aquifer conditions and to avoid unreasonable impacts to existing well owners. The Board and staff believe that these management strategies and safeguards will serve to protect all wells owners and the aquifer.
The special provisions of the Needmore Water LLC permit require an index well with permit compliance levels. The District has designated a primary index well (Amos Well) to serve as the sentinel well for the area, and continues to grow the monitoring efforts in the area . The District has set water level thresholds on the primary index well (Amos Well) that trigger mandatory pumping curtailments as the drawdown in the index well increases. The trigger levels are set so that adequate water levels are maintained, essentially ensuring that existing wells and the aquifer are protected.
Visit the data page for the Needmore Primary Index Well (Amos Well) for current information on the index well water levels.
|September 2015||Needmore Water LLC files a Temporary Production Permit Application|
|October 2015||Needmore Water LLC is Issued a Temporary Production Permit for Volume 179,965,440 gallons/year|
|November 2015||Staff Review of Regular Production Permit|
|December 2015||Continued Staff Review of Regular Production Permit|
|December 2015||Well D Re-completed|
|January 2016||Well D Aquifer Test Completed|
|March 2016||Hydrogeological Report Submitted|
|July – September 2016||Staff Correspondence to Transmit Proposed Special Provisions|
|September – October 2016||Additional Correspondence Relating to Needmore Water LLC’s Well D Permit Application
|November 2016||Staff Administrative Completeness Letter 11/15/16|
|11/29/16 – 12/19/16||Public Comment Period ends at 5pm on 12/19/16|
|December 2016||Public Comments Received:|
|January 2017||At the 1/26/17 board meeting the Board decided that the preliminary hearing to determine party status will be heard by SOAH. Updates on contested case proceedings are handled through the SOAH Public Case Document Viewer. Select the “Search Public Case Files” button, enter Docket Number 957-17-2582 and press search to view the updated file list and track progress.|
|March 2018||On March 5, 2018 an ALJ conducted a 1 day hearing on the limited Motion for Summary Disposition filed by the parties.|
|June 2018||On June 6, 2018 the ALJ ruled in the pending Needmore matter (SOAH Docket No. 957-17-2582) granting Needmore’s Motion for Summary Disposition and denying TESPA’s. The ALJ ruled that the Regular Permit Conversion hearing is limited to whether granting the regular permit will cause an unreasonable impact on existing wells or will lead to a failure to achieve the DFC. TESPA narrowed its position to whether the temporary permit should have been issued, which is outside the scope of the Regular Permit proceeding. Thus, the ALJ agreed with Needmore on this point and concluded there are no issues to consider in the SOAH proceeding.|
|July 2018||On July 23rd, The ALJ issued the proposal for Decision (PFD) in the Needmore matter. Any of the designated parties with standing that disagrees with the PFD may file exceptions no later than August 7. Replies to the exceptions are due August 22. The ALJ will review any exceptions and replies and consider whether to change the PFD.|
|October 2018||At the 10/11/18 Board meeting the board unanimously voted to issue an order remanding the Needmore LLC application to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for the limited purpose of further developing the evidentiary record through stipulations, testimony, or otherwise to enable the Administrative Law Judge to issue a revised Proposal for Decision that includes all of the elements required by District Rule 4-9.8(B) and Section 36.410(b)(3) of the Water Code, including the Administrative Law Judge’s recommendations for Board action on the Needmore LLC application.|
|April 2019||On April 10th, the District received the ALJ’s responseto the District’s request for additional explanation and guidance regarding the previously issued proposal for decision (PFD) that was issued on 7/23/18. The April 10th decision describes that SOAH does not have jurisdiction to issue a PFD on whether the Board should issue the Needmore Permit. The ALJ did not weigh in on the uncontested portions of the permit. The ALJ’s previous 7/23/18 Proposal for Decision was limited to a few specific contested issues (Needmore’s eligibility for a Temporary Permit) and her decision on those contested issues remains in effect. The District has scheduled a Public Hearing for July 29, 2019 at 4PM at Buda City Hall Council Chambers (405 Loop St, Buda, TX 78610).|
|July 2019||On July 29th, the Boarded voted to grant Needmore Water LLC a Regular permit with special provisions. The BSEACD Board of Directors considered the application of Needmore Water LLC for conversion of a Temporary Production Permit to a Regular Historical Production Permit to authorize the withdrawal of an annual permitted volume of approximately 289,000,000 gallons per year of groundwater from the Trinity Aquifer. The permittee will operate the well for agricultural uses.
The meeting was held, at 4:00 p.m. at the City of Buda City Council Chambers Room 1097, 405 E. Loop Street, Building 100, Buda, TX 78610.
|August 2019||On August 15, TESPA requested findings of fact and conclusions of law in connection with the Needmore permit.|
|September 2019||On September 12, 2019 the Board issued findings of fact and conclusions of law in connection with the Needmore permit.|
|October 2019||On October 2, 2019 TESPA filed a Motion for Rehearing requesting the Board to grant a new hearing on the Needmore matter and to deny the permit. If the Board does not act on the Motion for Rehearing before January 1, 2020, the Motion is considered to be denied. On October 31, 2019 Needmore filed a response to TESPA’s motion, and request the Board to deny the TESPA request.|
|December 2019||On December 12, 2019 its Regular Meeting, the Board of Directors denied the request from TESPA for a rehearing of the Needmore Water LLC permit. At this time the permit is granted and considered a final and appealble order.