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Photo courtesy of Katherine Carvajal

Water Program Updates - Summer 2022

Throughout this year's drought, HCA’s water program has stayed busy working to protect our region’s waterways and spotlighting our incredible partners. In January, HCA joined a group of landowners and organizations in filing a rule-change petition with the TCEQ to protect our state’s most pristine waterways from wastewater pollution. Although the petition was ultimately denied in March, HCA and our partners continue to push for stronger protections for these special waterways. We also convened a successful gathering of grassroots water advocacy groups from across the Hill Country in late March. We will continue to hold these meetings twice each year. Coming together to identify common challenges, to learn from one another’s experiences, to pursue opportunities for collaboration, and to network, is vital to the long-term preservation of Hill Country water.

In April, we held the first annual Spring Water Revival, a month-long celebration of water in the Hill Country. The month culminated at Schreiner University with the return of HCA’s Texas Water Symposium, a conversation on water infrastructure and infrastructure funding, broadcast on Texas Public Radio. Click here to listen to the full recording.

Water and Growth in the Hill Country

The difference a few months can make - and a photo series worth many thousands of words. Iconic Jacob's Well in Wimberley has been closed since the end of June, due to low flow levels. Gorgeous Hill Country springs and waterfalls just aren't the same without water. However, what we are seeing now goes beyond drought. The Hill Country’s population has grown significantly in the last decade, and with it, so has the region’s water demands.

As Executive Director Katherine Romans explained in a recent interview with KXAN, growing demand for housing could drive water supplies towards a tipping point. Our local leaders need more power to plan for and guide growth. The State has an opportunity to grant this power in the upcoming legislative session, and the stakes are too high not to take it.
First photo series shows Jacob's Well Natural Area - in May and August, courtesy of Katherine Sturdivant. Second photo series shows Edge Falls in Kendall County, courtesy of Mike Jones, with a recent photo courtesy of Katherine Romans. The contrast in both photo series is a stark reminder of our connection to groundwater.

Drought Updates

Despite last week’s rains, most of the Hill Country remains in Extreme to Exceptional Drought. Inflows to the Highland Lakes are at historic lows, Jacob’s well has stopped flowing, and many rivers have gone dry. In response to the drought and to protect aquifer levels, many Groundwater Conservation Districts have imposed water restrictions. To learn more about the drought and its impact on Hill Country communities, check out our newly updated Drought Page on the HCA website.

Upcoming Events

Texas Groundwater Summit
August 30 - September 1

HCA's Water Program Manager Marisa Bruno and Land Program Director Daniel Oppenheimer are at the Texas Groundwater Summit this week. If you see them - come say hi! This year's Texas Groundwater Summit is hosted in San Antonio and put on by the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts.

Details →
TCEQ Stakeholder Meeting for Pristine Streams
August 31  |  1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
In-person: TCEQ Campus, Austin
Online: YouTube and webcast

While TCEQ's commissioners voted 2-1 to reject the Pristine Streams Petition at their March meeting, all three of them said that they wanted the agency to continue the discussion about how to protect these streams. This stakeholder meeting is being held as a follow-up and all are invited to participate, either online or in-person.

Details →
Riparian Woodlands Workshop
September 10  |  8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Llano River Field Station, Junction

Join the Llano River Watershed Alliance and natural resources specialist Steve Nelle for a presentation and field trip covering the principles of a healthy riparian zone, riparian zone management practices, and the impacts of the Axis deer.

Details →
The Future of Blanco County
September 15  |  6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Gem of the Hills, Blanco

Blanco County is changing – and experiencing some growing pains. Development expands while open space disappears. Combined with the drought, our water supply is being threatened. Join friends and neighbors in Blanco County for a community gathering to learn about issues facing the area and how we can shape its future.

Details →
Protecting Land to Protect Water
September 21  |  6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
McKenna Events Center, New Braunfels

Join the Comal County Conservation Alliance and Texas Water Trade for a conversation about the important connection between land, aquifers, and our water supply at this meeting in September. 

Details →
Convening of Grassroots Water Advocates
October 13  |  10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Location TBD, Bandera County

n October 13th, HCA is convening grassroots water advocates for a day of learning, strategizing, and networking. If you would like to get involved, please email for more information.

Details →

Dive in and join us at the Leadership Summit!

Learn more about our work on Thursday, September 29th at the 2022 Hill Country Leadership Summit - Our Shared Stories: Past Present and Future.

The Leadership Summit is the HCA's premiere annual gathering, and provides an opportunity for learning, networking, and being inspired among our region’s top community leaders, conservation practitioners, and natural resource managers. This year, we are excited to offer both in-person and virtual access to the summit - so get your ticket today. Registration and sponsorship opportunities available now!
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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 151675  |  Austin, TX 78715 |

Contact us at: 
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