The History of the Creation of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District

Topic: Other Publications
Source: Tom Stinson, Board President (1989)
Format: Paper
Year: 1989


This District, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, has evolved after years of untiring efforts by many individuals dedicated to aquifer protection.  There were at least six serious legislative efforts to create water laws for this area dating from 1937 to 1985, but none of them became law, not until August 1987.

The intent of this history is to summarize and document the events that led to the creation of this conservation District.  This history is not intended to be an official part of the first annual report that ill be filed as required by the District’s bylaws.  The purpose in compiling this history is for the future use of anyone who may be interested in the facts as I hope to relate and tabulate them.

Dr. Kent Butler was the most important person in the District’s creation.  He was and is exceedingly well qualified (see attachment 1) by his education, work experience, organizational skills, ability to coordinate small and large city officials (see attachment 2) and manage the project of District creation to fruition.  Dr. Butler was the instigator of contracts, the coordinator of process through the Water Commission Hearings and the key person who knew exactly whom to write, visit, or call at every critical juncture.  $228,304.97 in funds passed through his company to the city of Buda, where all bills were sent and paid.  Dr. Butler earned a handsome fee for his work (see attachment 3) and, in my opinion, he was not overpaid, because without him, the District’s creation would have been another aborted effort.  I make these statements after having red or scanned teshelf feet of District documentation on file at the legal firm of Bickerstaff, Heath, and Smiley (B.H. & S.) in Austin, Texas.

Overview of early key events

In 1984, Dr. Butler obtained a six-month contract from the “small cities” for him to proceed with the creation of an underground water District to protect their only source of water.  These monies are not part of the District’s official organizational costs, but that is exactly what they were spent for.

Also, in 1984 the City of Austin became interested in the protection of the Edwards Aquifer (see attachment 4) and the District.

On August 1, 1985, the small cities and the City of Austin passed and signed a Resolution confirming their joint interests (see attachment 5.)  Travis County, on December 17, 1988 also signed an approved a Resolution in support of the District’s creation (see attachment 6.)  Again, the work of Dr. Butler is seen in a letter (see attachment 7) to Anne Cooper, Texas Representative District 47.  Finally, the second contracts between the “Cities” and Butler, and between Butler and Bickerstaff, Heath, and Smiley are executed (see attachment 8) and ammended by B.H. & S (see attachment 9.)

A pattern is established of increased support by governments, small and large, and increased need for more funds to coordinate the District’s creation.  While support grows, the opposition to the District’s creation begins to surface.

Click “View” at the top of the page to open full text and continue reading.