|Perhaps the most tragic aspect of the on-going pollution of the Edwards Aquifer is how frequently polluters are subsidized by our tax dollars. |
For example, City Councils in Austin and San Antonio have granted millions of dollars in subsidies (fee waivers, tax abatements, tax rebates, delayed annexation, and others) to developers planning on building thousands of homes, paving hundreds of acres, and generating millions of gallons of wastewater and thousands of vehicle trips per day on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.
We are currently calculating just how many BILLIONS of dollars the Texas Department of Transportation plans to spend paving the Hill Country of the Edwards Aquifer. In the Austin area alone, the Capital Metropolitan Planning Organization plans to spend $1.5 BILLION in state and federal dollars expanding highways in the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer.
River authorities, such as the Lower Colorado River Authority and the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority, are using their rate-payers' money to build waterlines into the Edwards Aquifer Recharge and Contributing Zones to enable high density development. LCRA alone intends to spend over $100 million building water systems in the Barton Springs segment.
WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?
It's simple: stop giving away our money to developers and infrastructure projects that pollute the Edwards Aquifer.
Local city councils should ask for a public vote on any measures that would give rebates, abatements, waivers or the like to developers proposing to build high density projects over the aquifer.
Local and state transportation organizations should redirect highway spending downstream of the Edwards Aquifer and only proceed with projects over the aquifer that are needed for essential safety and supported by the local population.
River authorities should stop building water lines into the Hill Country that promote "water welfare" to speculative real estate developers.
The State Legislature should empower local governments to police and enforce water quality protections, including inspection and maintenance of water quality control facilities (Best Management Practices).
Polluters should be forced to clean up their pollution sources and penalized for additional violations.