Edwards Aquifer Protection Program: Update

Every six months, the San Antonio City Council is updated on the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program (EAPP). The protection program, which places conservation easements over the Recharge and Contributing Zones to prevent overdevelopment of land that directly impacts San Antonio’s water supply, has been one of the most popular programs in the city’s history. It was first approved by voters in 2000, and reapproved in 2005 and 2010.

Thus far, the program has protected over 130,00 acres.  That is the equivalent of 51 percent of our current water supply. If we continue the effort at the same pace San Antonio voters have approved three times before, we will protect 100 percent of our needed 50-year Edwards supply within 15 years.

The program is not a new tax and does not require new funding. Since 2000, San Antonio voters have chosen to put 1/8th of a penny of sales tax revenue toward acquisition of the conservation easements, extending over several counties. Because of the flow of the aquifer, and as the saying goes that “Water does not follow political boundaries,” working together to protect those lands has a direct and critical impact on San Antonio’s water quality today and for future generations.

Today, nearly 90 percent of San Antonio’s drinking water comes from the Edwards Aquifer. Over the next 50 years, even with supply diversification that is important but far more expensive, the Edwards Aquifer will remain the backbone of San Antonio’s water supply.  If allowed to continue, as voters have done overwhelmingly since 2000, the EAPP will allow us to secure the least expensive, most critical source of water for future generations of San Antonians.

See the  LMI evaluation of the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program that City Council reviewed. The study shows that the EAPP is working as intended, that we are measuring significant success, and that we are reaching the finish line on this critical effort that preserves the quantity, quality, and affordability of water in our city.

City Council must take action to place the EAPP on the ballot in order for voters to get a chance to continue the program. In January 2015, several council members and I filed a request to initiate the process. Discuss the importance of protecting water quality by commenting below.

We look forward to hearing from you!