County and city elected officials said Friday they have had no contact with a company that plans to pump water out of Val Verde County to recharge the Edwards Aquifer.
Clyde Crews, who identified himself as a representative of Southwest Sustainable Water Supply Company LLC, and Kaveh Khorzad, a hydrogeologist who said he was with a company called Wet Rock Groundwater Services, pitched their plan to the Edwards Aquifer Authority board of directors in a technical briefing Tuesday.
The Edwards Aquifer Authority is headquartered in San Antonio and regulates a portion of the Balcones Fault Zone Edwards Aquifer, which, according to the aquifer authority’s web site, provides water to more than two million people.
A video of that meeting was shared on social media by members of the Protect San Felipe Creek Committee.
At the start of the presentation, Crews told the aquifer authority board, “Our mission is to attempt to increase the flow of the springs by bringing water to the Edwards and also being able to supply the rapidly growing area, population and development of the Medina/Bexar County area.”
Before the hydrogeologist proceeded with the technical overview of the plan, a member of the aquifer authority board asked Crews, “Have you had any of the governmental entities or anybody else sign off or buy into your project there in the area?”
“Well, I don’t know exactly what I need to do to qualify for ‘buy in,’ but we’ve discussed this with representatives of the county that’s our target county. We’ve discussed it with a number of people out of the legislature and so forth,” Crews added.
The aquifer authority member pressed further, asking, “I’m talking on a local level. I’m talking about Val Verde County.”
“Yes, Poncho Nevarez is working with us, and also we’ve contacted people there in the city government as well,” Crews replied.
Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) said Friday he has spoken to representatives of the companies planning the pumping, but emphasized no decisions have been made.
Nevarez said he asked the company officials for details of the plan, but added none of those details have been provided.
“I take my cues from the community,” Nevarez said in a telephone interview Friday. “I don’t know any of the parameters. How much water are we talking about? Who will monitor this? I don’t have any of that information. My message to the community would be don’t panic. Nothing’s happening.”
Val Verde County Judge Lewis G. Owens Jr. and three of the four other members of Val Verde County Commissioners Court on Friday said they had not heard from any representatives of the proposed project.
Commissioner Pct. 2 Juan Carlos Vazquez, Commissioner Pct. 3 Beau Nettleton and Commissioner Pct. 4 Gustavo “Gus” Flores said no one from the company has contacted them.
“(Cruz) claimed he talked to the city and county, and he has not,” Nettleton said via text.
An attempt to contact Commissioner Pct. 1 Martin Wardlaw was unsuccessful.
The Del Rio News-Herald on Friday also attempted to contact all seven members of the Del Rio City Council via text message to ask if they had heard from pumping project representatives.
Mayor Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano said he was working to find out more details about the project, but added, “It was never brought to city attention prior to the (Facebook) post.”
Councilwoman Liz Elizalde De Calderon, Councilman Rowland Garza, Councilman Alfredo “Fred” Carranza Jr. and Councilman Jim De Reus said they did not know any details of the project, though some of them said they were aware of social media posts about it.
Attempts to contact Councilwoman Diana Bejarano Salgado, Councilman Raul C. Ojeda and City Manager Matt Wojnowski were unsuccessful.
In the presentation, Khorzad outlined the technical aspects of the project and told the aquifer authority board, “The wells that we are proposing are located in southeast Val Verde County about eight miles northeast of the city of Del Rio. What we are proposing to do is produce water from a well field in Val Verde County and pipe it into the Seco Sinkhole for injection and to be able to get a credit for that injection and sell that credit to public supply wells in western Bexar County and eastern Medina County.”
Khorzad said aquifer testing has been done on the Val Verde County property where the well field would be sited.
“We believe that we have large producing wells in the area that could sustain large production rates. We have approximately 17,000 acres of land for the well field,” the hydrogeologist said.
Later, he told the Edwards Aquifer Authority board, “We modeled production rates from 25,000 to 75,000 acre feet per year and have noted that impacts to San Felipe Springs were not reduced before pre-Amistad rates, which is about 77 cubic feet per second.”
After a lengthy presentation and an equally lengthy question-and-session by board members, the aquifer authority board took no action, but aquifer authority staff indicated they will continue working with Crews and his company.