Commission rejects LCRA’s ‘flawed’ scenario
June 03, 2013, 7:31 pm by James Walker
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s executive director Monday effectively rejected the Lower Colorado River Authority’s proposed plan for managing the water in the Highland Lakes.
After getting a look at comments from citizens and entities likely to be affected by a new plan, TCEQ Executive Director Zac Covar said the regulatory agency will gather data and perform its own modeling scenarios.
"Based on public comment and continuing drought conditions, I have determined that further evaluation of your application is appropriate in order to take into account information raised in the public comments, such as recent streamflow data,” Covar told LCRA General Manager Becky Motal in a letter Monday.
"Accordingly, I will not be forwarding the LCRA’s application to the Commission for action on the hearing requests until the additional evaluation is complete,” Covar said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Highland Lakes Newspapers (The Highlander, Burnet Bulletin, and The Llano County Journal) Monday.
State senators TroyFraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) and Kirk Watson (D-Austin), who earlier this year introduced a bill that would require LCRA to live up the terms of its court adjudicated permit and protect firm water customers only to see it scuttled by allies of the lower Colorado River basin rice farmers, said Covar’s decision is a big win for lakes interests.
"We could not be more pleased that the TCEQ has considered our request for review of the proposed plan and new modeling today,” Fraser said Monday afternoon. "For the past two years, the LCRA has had emergency orders that would still be needed if the proposed plan was in place. Clearly this plan is flawed as it does not accomplish the purpose for which it is intended — protecting firm water customers during a repeat of the drought of record.”
Motal said in a statement released Monday afternoon that LCRA supports Covar’s decision.
"There is no more important issue facing this region now than the drought, and having a plan that protects the water supply for our firm customers is critical,” Motal said. "We welcome the further review, and LCRA stands ready to assist TCEQ as needed.”
For the full story see Tuesday's Highlander, or Wednesday's Burnet Bulletin or the Llano County Journal.
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