The Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) requires certain groundwater withdrawal permit holders to develop and implement individual groundwater conservation plans. In addition, the EAA promotes water efficiency through the implementation of a regional groundwater conservation plan (GCP) and its water conservation programs. Through these plans permit holders are required to achieve year-round conservation through the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs). Conserving groundwater is important to the effective management and sustainability of the Edwards Aquifer. Below are some of the programs we could expand with additional funding:
Eradicating Flood Irrigation
One focus of the EAA’s conservation equipment grants has been to help eradicate the process of flood irrigation (a low efficiency practice) in our region. By utilizing information obtained in grant applications that were received by the EAA but were not funded, it has been determined that there are at least 1,230 existing acres that are irrigated through flood irrigation practices.
The focus of the EAA’s leak detection grant is to assist smaller utilities in identifying system leaks so that they can be remedied.
Abandoned well – closure and equipment
Through the process of time, the normal course of changing land use, or in some cases the expansion of municipal water distribution systems, many groundwater wells become abandoned or deteriorated without being properly plugged or capped. This can result in wells serving as direct conduits for pollutants to contaminate the aquifer – creating a potential health risk to the groundwater supply.
To facilitate the proper closure of abandoned or deteriorated wells throughout the EAA’s jurisdiction, starting with the wells posing most significant threat to the aquifer. The EAA uses a sophisticated threat ranking system to determine which wells are the most significant threats to the aquifer.
Haz-mat materials collection
The EAA provides an opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and landowners to dispose of their old, outdated, or unused agricultural chemicals. The EAA’s missions is to manage, enhance and protect the Edwards Aquifer system and this type of effort is a crucial part of its mandate. The intent is to host bi-annual collection events, ultimately and effectively eradicating the region of unused or unwanted hazardous chemicals that could potentially harm the aquifer.
Regulated substance storage tank installation and/or upgrade
The EAA has established a program to provide financial assistance to registered, agricultural facility owner/operators for obtaining secondary containment (protective equipment upgrades) for regulated, aboveground storage tanks (AST). This program helps protect the aquifer from accidents by adding additional protective equipment to existing tanks or by replacing potentially compromised tanks with modern protective tanks.