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Opinion

 

KNOW YOUR PROPERTY RIGHTS by Michele G. Gangnes, Esq.

Published in Lexington Leader, March 21, 2019

We recognize landowners’ rights to sell their water, but we reject the notion that our state should risk inflicting catastrophic consequences on our communities, ranches, farms and the environment from over-pumping our aquifers. ​~~ Michele Gangnes, SAWDF

The Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund works to protect aquifers and groundwater property rights. Your recent article on local groundwater leasing activity successfully raised public awareness, judging from the calls I have received.

Knowledgeable landowners say Recharge Water’s Louisiana-based leasing agent is offering complicated, one-sided leases in north Lee County. SAWDF does not offer legal services, but landowners should get legal advice if they are thinking about selling water.

 

Private water marketers Metropolitan Water Company, Recharge Water (formerly End Op) and Forestar have leased or bought water rights for years. Recharge Water and Forestar currently hold water leases to support their respective 15 billion gal/yr and 9 billion gal/yr groundwater export permits.

 

Forestar recently admitted it still has no customer after years of marketing Lee County water in the I-35 corridor. Recharge claims to have invested millions of dollars but also has never announced a buyer for its project that straddles Lee and Bastrop counties. Presumably, both projects’ current investors are first in line to profit from their original investment.

 

We recognize landowners’ rights to sell their water, but we reject the notion that our state should risk inflicting catastrophic consequences on our communities, ranches, farms and the environment from over-pumping our aquifers. Our rich but vulnerable Simsboro aquifer is under siege, and we face lowered water levels, degraded water quality, land subsidence and depletion of inter-connected surface water, just like California has self-inflicted for over 50 years.

 

SAWDF’s website, www.stopwatergrabs.org, and Environmental Stewardship’s website, www.environmental-stewardship.org are sources of information.

 

Michele G. Gangnes is a Director of the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund. She is an attorney and lives in Lexington, Texas. She can be reached at 512-461-3179 or via email at info@simsborowaterdefensefund.org.

 

The mission of the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund (SAWDF) is to take action to protect and conserve the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in central Texas, as well as the rivers, streams and springs that are nurtured by it, and to defend the rights of those who live over the aquifer and who seek to leave a legacy of sustainable water resources for future Texans.

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