BASTROP COUNTY, Texas — A permit to allow the Lower Colorado River Authority, the water provider for more than a million Texans, to drill wells in Bastrop County will be reviewed by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
LCRA wants to build and drill eight water wells into land at the Griffith League Scout Ranch. The area is surrounded by more than 500 homes.
On Sept. 26, more than 40 homeowners went before the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, the local government agency that controls water pumping in the county, to oppose LCRA's water pumping permit.
“We’re concerned about the noise impact both from the drilling, which I know to be is allowed … and then also more importantly the long-term impact of the wells being pumped day and night for who knows how long,” said Jeannie Jessup, who lives just yards from the Griffith League Scout Ranch and is the founder of the group Friends of Bastrop Water.
She's concerned the nearby land homeowners use for well water may dry up due to the pumping.
"It's possible that their wells will go dry ... and they depend on well water for their home needs and for their business," said Jessup.
LCRA aims to meet the demand for the fast-paced growth of Austin and Central Texas.
In a statement from LCRA Executive Vice President John Hofmann to the homeowners at last week's meeting, he said they need to get ready to meet the increased demand, the wells will be located at 1,000 feet from all property lines, and that it will have no impact on shallow wells.
But that's not the only problem. Neighbors are worried about the noise it could cause. After the 2011 Bastrop County Complex Fire, many of the trees that would have provided a sound barrier today burned up.
While Jessup and neighbors do understand the purpose of drilling, she, along with others in the area, feel the operation could be done differently.
"But to have an organization effect change in our community, where they could choose to limit the impact, that's something that's difficult to understand," said Jessup.
More information on LCRA can be found here.