TWCA Fall Meeting Returns to San Antonio
Texas Water Conservation Association 221 E. 9th Street, Ste. 206 Austin, Texas 78701-2510 512-472-7216 Fax: 512-472-0537 http://www.twca.org Officers Luana Buckner, President Phillip J. Ford, President-Elect James M. Parks, Immediate Past President Association Staff Leroy Goodson General Manager e-mail: email@example.com Dean Robbins Assistant General Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
The city famous for its Spanish missions, the Alamo, the River Walk, SeaWorld, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and the San Antonio Spurs, is visited by approximately 26 million tourists per year. In October, the Crowne Plaza Riverwalk Hotel will welcome TWCA members for the Associationâ€™s Fall Meeting. As usual, the agenda is packed with interesting and informative presentations and there will be ample time for catching up with attendees from around the state. Golfers tee off at noon on Wednesday for the 5th Annual Fall Classic Golf Tournament at The Quarry Golf Club, with an 11:30 check in for the 4 person scramble. A free Risk Management Seminar will start at 1 pm (see website for additional details). Wednesday evening, plan to attend the Membership and Services Committee Reception, hosted by Brown & Gay Engineers, Inc. from 6-7 pm in the Grand Foyer. Thursday morning, the TWCA Panels and Committees will convene in various locations between 9 and 11:30 a.m. Several of the Panels will feature special guest speakers with presentations on critical topics, so be sure to check the program agenda for current location information. The TWCA Board of Directors Meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. in Texas Ballroom B on the second floor. The Thursday afternoon General Session kicks off at 1 p.m. Highlights include Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, State Senator Robert Duncan, and Zack Covar, the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The afternoon session will include important presentations on water conservation, identity theft, and restoration of the San Antonio River. State Representative Brandon Creighton will address the attendees at the Thursday evening reception. Continued on page 4
Opinions expressed in Confluence are those of the writer and not necessarily those of TWCA, its officers, directors or staff. ÂŠ 2012, TWCA
Texas Needs Bold Leaders Now is the time for bold leadership in Texas. Our vision must be bold enough to withstand Luana Buckner the temptations of our political motivations. And our actions must match our vision. As Texans lean further to the political “right”, we risk losing sight of our core needs as a state. In so doing we put the well being of our economy, our natural resources and our future in jeopardy. We can not continue to ignore the needs that are fundamental to our continued sustainability as a society. We must find a way to fund education, repair and build our infrastructure and more importantly, secure and ensure certainty in our WATER. If our political culture as voters insists on no new funding options for programs and projects that are critical to our viability as a place to live, learn and work, how can we expect to move forward and continue the growth our state has enjoyed over the past few years. How are we going to continue to grow our economy if we do not have adequate schools, transportation and water to sustain that growth? Perhaps our state would be better served if we as voters took a more reasonable approach that in today’s political climate requires our leaders to be bold. Bold as in the step Chairman Allen Ritter took last session to introduce legislation proposing a constitutional amendment to establish a tap fee on water connections to assist the Texas Water Development Board in the funding of certain projects included in the state water plan. There are also a few more bold members of the legislature emerging. State Representative Lyle Larson was on a San Antonio televised talk show just weeks ago calling for the need
to fund water projects. He told the viewers to hold their elected officials accountable – not by pledging against raising taxes – but by do the right thing for the needs of the state. Representative Larson is currently touring the state visiting groundwater districts, river authorities and other water providers to gain firsthand knowledge of what these agencies are doing and to learn more about water needs. Senator Jeff Wentworth made a similar bold statement recently saying what an important and critical issue water is and the need for funding it. Representative Harvey Hilderbran is calling for wide spread reforms to our property tax system. Reforms that could lead to increased revenues, according to the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson has a bold vision for water projects on the state’s lands. Although still in a preliminary feasibility phase, the project sounds promising. As local and regional water leaders representing all areas of state, we as members of Texas Water Conservation Association should continue to encourage these types of bold ideas and bold leadership. We can and should do more to educate the decision makers and the voters. And, we should not be hindered by the constraints and prejudices of partisan politics that threaten to stymie our progress as a proud and productive state. If my comments today seem bold, then I’ve accomplished what I set out to do – set the table for some truly bold discussion and debate.
Pesticide General Permit: All Pain, No Gain by Senator James M. Inhofe* Despite our efforts, as of October 31, 2011 pesticide applications to, over or near Waters of the United States require a Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) as a Pesticide General Permit (PGP). This new rule inaugurates an onerous duplicative permitting process: previously pesticides were adequately regulated solely under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) – and for over 30 years, EPA did not require permits for pesticide application (1) if pesticides are applied directly to water to control pests such as mosquito larvae and aquatic weeds; and (2) if pesticides are applied to control pests that are present over or near water. Now compliance will no longer mean simply following instructions on a pesticide label. Pesticide users – including farmers, ranchers, forest managers, scientists and individuals from state agencies, city and county municipalities, mosquito control districts, and water districts – will have to navigate an expensive and complex process of identifying the relevant permit, file a valid notice of intent to comply with the permit with the regulatory authority, and obtain a familiarity with all of the permit’s conditions and restrictions. As for the financial burden, EPA estimates the paperwork alone will cost $50 million annually; however, state estimates show the financial burden to be several magnitudes greater. Further, EPA estimates that this permit will impact 365,000 entities -- virtually doubling the number of entities currently subject to NPDES permitting and covering 5.6 million pesticide applications each year. The PGP will touch 45 permitting authorities and require one million hours to implement. Unfortunately, under this new rule, it is possible for environmental activists to sue pesticide users under the Clean Water Act, an avenue that was not available under FIFRA – and big green groups make no secret of their intention to continue their citizen suits until all pesticide applications are permitted if there is even a slight chance that the pesticide could come in contact with any “water,” either flowing water or seasonal drainage ditches that could be a conveyance to a water of the US. Continued on page 5 * Reprinted with prermission from the March 2012 issure of Irrigation Leader magazine.
The General Session reconvenes on Friday morning at 8:15 a.m. and includes presentations from Mike Turco, U.S. Geological Survey, Texas Water Development Board Chairman Billy Bradford, Grigadier General Thomas W. Kula of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon. The program will be capped off by a discussion of the new TWCA communications efforts on behalf of the Membership and Services Committee, and closing with a Case Law Update from the Water Laws Committee. “Once again, we’ve put together an outstanding program for our members,” said Leroy Goodson, TWCA General Manager. “We all look forward to these opportunities to get together to talk about the important water issues, exchange ideas, and to the fellowship, as well. We will be heading into a Legislative Session and that always brings an added emphasis to our discussions.”
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From the June Conference... Always delighted to have our Legislators join us and participate in TWCA meetings... Turco
Representative Bill Callegari (top center) with Leroy Goodson and Dean Robbins (right). Sen. Troy Fraser (below center), Chairman, Senate Committee on Natural Resouces.
Pesticide General Permit
Although this duplicative permitting process is now in effect, we have not given up the fight to stop it. On March 2, 2011, H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 – a bill that would clarify that pesticide application used in compliance with FIFRA do not need an additional Clean Water Act permit – was introduced. It passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives by a vote of 292-130 on March 31, 2011, and was passed out of the Senate Agriculture committee by voice vote on June 21, 2011. Unfortunately the bill was stalled in the Senate as environmental activist groups managed to get enough members of the Senate on their side. From global warming to water rules, my priority in my leadership role in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has always been to stop EPA from implementing regulations that are all economic pain for no environmental gain, and the Pesticide General Permit process is very much a part of that fight. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to implement this muchneeded legislative fix.
Continued from page 3 The results of this could be dire for pesticide users: applicators not in compliance will face fines of up to $37,500 per day per violation, not including attorney’s fees. Given the fact that a large number of applicators have never been subject to NPDES and its permitting process, even a good faith effort to be in compliance could fall short. Moreover, the CWA allows for private actions against individuals who may or may not have committed a violation. Thus, while EPA may exercise its judgment and refrain from prosecuting certain applicators, they remain vulnerable to citizen suits. And, as with so many of EPA’s rules, the exorbitant costs and the regulatory burden imposed will have no meaningful environmental benefits. Advocates of this duplicative permitting process say that it is essential to ensure clean water, but this is simply not the case. NPDES is a permit to discharge. In the case of pesticides, it’s a permit to discharge a substance that is already evaluated by EPA for impacts to water quality. No other permitted discharge subject to this unnecessary double regulation by EPA. If anything, this process will likely be detrimental to public health, as the increased likelihood of litigation could lead some to discontinue pesticide use altogether. If this happens, control of mosquito and other vector borne diseases that regulatory threaten human health will be significantly disrupted by the PGP process; this process could also create barriers to the control of pests such as the Gypsy Moth and Forest Tent Caterpillar, which could result in more cases of tree deaths in forests and defoliated landscapes. My own state of Oklahoma does not have NPDES permitting authority for pesticides, but it does not anticipate that requiring NPDES permits for pesticide applications will provide significant environmental benefits. The stream segments in Oklahoma with pesticide impairments are mostly due to older, legacy pesticides that EPA has cancelled and/or discontinued. None of these impairments are attributable to pesticides applied directly to waterways, but rather are the result of stormwater runoff.
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Sequestration and the Fiscal Cliff The fiscal cliff has three components: the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the end of the Alternative Minimum Tax “patch”, and automatic, across-the-board cuts (known as “sequestration; see June 2012 CONFLUENCE, page 14 ) that will cut $110 billion per year for the next ten years equally split between defense and non-defense spending. Taking together the impacts are predicted to cause doubledip inflation in 2013. Nearly all proposals to avoid the fiscal cliff involve extending certain parts of the 2010 Tax Relief Act or changing the 2011 Budget Control Act or both, thus making the deficit larger by reducing taxes and/or increasing spending. The potential impacts of the draconian auto-cuts in defense and non-defense budgets are easily recognized, but consider the impacts to individual wage earners of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. The box shows the latest report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
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An Historic Lame Duck and Other Issues
By Tom Ray, Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam
The “lame duck” session of the 112th Congress will begin on November 13 and likely end just before Christmas. Speaker Boehner in the House and Leader Reid in the Senate will be responsible for determining the priorities of the lame duck, but both recognize the number one issue to be taking the steps necessary to prevent the United States from going over a fiscal cliff by a triad of converging fiscal dictates. The upcoming lame duck may be one of the most significant sessions in recent history, more so than the December 2010 lame duck session passed the extension of the Bush tax cuts for an additional two years. Unfortunately, while “going off the fiscal cliff” may be addressed during the lame duck session in Congress, there is a huge backlog of uncontroversial yet still important legislation that will die with the 112th Congress at the stroke of midnight, December 31st.
Budget deficits, projected through 2022. The “CBO Baseline” shows the effects of the fiscal cliff under current law. The “Alternative Scenario” represents what would happen if Congress extends the Bush tax cuts and repeals the Budget Control Act-mandate.
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New Lawsuit Against TWDB Highlights Physical and Legal Relationship Between Groundwater and Surface Water by Andrew S. “Drew” Miller It is an accepted canon of water law in Texas that surface water and groundwater are regulated under entirely separate legal regimes. This division exists despite the fact that – physically speaking – ground and surface waters are, in fact, part and parcel of the same thing, namely, water moving through various states of the hydrologic cycle. The Comanche Springs Case (1954) The historical separation between the legal regimes governing groundwater and surface water, and the dissonance that results from the application of that separation to the physical reality of the connectedness between groundwater and surface water is perhaps best illustrated through the holding in Pecos County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 v. Williams, 271 S.W.2d 503 (Tex. Civ. App.–El Paso 1954, writ ref’d n.r.e.). Comanche Springs in Pecos County were used from prehistoric times by the Jumano Indians. They were likely visited in 1536 by Cabeza de Vaca and later described by Juan de Mendoza in 1684. In 1849, William Whiting of the U.S. Cavalry described them as “a clear gush of water which burst from the plain, unperceived until the traveler is immediately upon it . . . abounding in fish and soft-shelled turtles.” In 1859, the United States established Camp Stockton, and used the spring water as its supply. From 1875 on, the springs formed the basis of an irrigation district that watered thousands of acres of cropland. By the 1930s, Comanche Springs became a regional attraction, enjoyed by local residents, visitors and tourists. A bathhouse, swimming pool and pavilion were constructed there in 1938.
As a result of the drilling of wells and the large scale pumping of groundwater for irrigation on nearby property, the springs ceased flowing. The water district which provided water to farmers using the water which had emerged from the springs filed suit against the groundwater pumper, asking that he be enjoined from interfering with the normal flow of Comanche Springs and for other relief. The court of civil appeals ruled against the District, stating that under the laws of Texas, groundwater belongs to the landowner and may be used by him at his will. Thus, groundwater contributing to the flow of Comanche Springs belonged to the landowner while it was under his land. The court refused to declare the District’s correlative rights in the groundwater, explaining that the District’s rights could only extend to waters of Comanche Springs after their emergence from the ground. Prior to that time, the landowner could beneficially use any amount of water regardless of its impact on the springs. Since the Comanche Springs case was decided, scores of groundwater conservation districts (GCDs) have been created in Texas. GCDs have the responsibility and legal authority to manage groundwater resources and regulate groundwater production, and manage and conserve groundwater resources. Environmental Stewardship v. Texas Water Development Board (2012) Almost 60 years after the Comanche Springs case, the acknowledged division between the legal regimes governing surface water and groundwater, Continued on page 8 7
New Lawsuit Against TWDB...
were adopted by the GMA for the various aquifers in each of the groundwater conservation districts’ jurisdictions. Environmental Stewardship alleges that groundwater pumping resulting from the adopted DFCs would “unreasonably threaten the groundwatersurface water relationship between the Colorado and Brazos Rivers and the underlying aquifers governed by the DFCs.” Environmental Stewardship also asserts that such groundwater pumping would harm terrestrial and surface water resources dependent on outflow from the aquifers into the Colorado and Brazos Rivers. Following a hearing held on February 29, 2012, in Milano, Texas, which included the presentation of evidence, and upon the consideration of the recommendation of TWDB’s staff, the TWDB denied Environmental Stewardship’s petition. The staff recommendation stated in summary that while some of Environmental Stewardship’s criticisms regarding the alleged failure of the GCDs to follow proper procedures, inappropriate methodology including modeling assumptions, and the failure of the GCDs to adopt evidence presented during GMA meetings, may be valid, none of them warrants a determination that the adopted DFCs are unreasonable. In its lawsuit, Environmental Stewardship now claims that TWDB acted contrary to its own rules by determining that the GMA-12 DFCs were reasonable without considering the impacts of the DFCs on surface water and on surface water rights. Environmental Stewardship relies on a TWDB rule which states that “[t]he board shall consider the following criteria when determining whether a desired future condition is reasonable…(3) the environmental impacts including, but not limited to, impacts to spring flow or other interaction between groundwater and surface water;… [and] (5) the impact on private property rights…” 31 Tex. Admin. Code § 356.45(c). Environmental Stewardship argues that TWDB is required to consider impacts to spring flow, surface water, and surface water rights but failed to do so. The Office of the Attorney General has filed a general denial on behalf of TWDB – meaning that it has denied Environmental Stewardship’s claims – but has not yet responded substantively. It is likely that TWDB will seek to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the decision by TWDB
Continued from page 7 and potential connections between the two, have been brought to the fore as a result of a lawsuit by Environmental Stewardship, a non-profit corporation, against the Texas Water Development Board (“TWDB”) regarding TWDB’s treatment of an appeal of Desired Future Conditions (DFCs) adopted by Groundwater Management Area 12 (“GMA-12”). Environmental Stewardship filed its lawsuit in July 2012, in state district court in Travis County. Environmental Stewardship alleges that it and its members own property in Bastrop County, within GMA-12. GMA-12 covers all or portions of 14 counties in central and east Texas including Bastrop County, and includes all or portions of the jurisdiction of five GCDs, including the Lost Pines GCD. The goals of Environmental Stewardship include the protection, conservation, restoration and enhancement of the ecological functions of the Colorado River and the Brazos River and the groundwater and watersheds associated with those streams. Environmental Stewardship says that its members include: a well owner who relies on groundwater for domestic and livestock use; a holder of permits allowing the withdrawal of surface water from the Brazos river for irrigation use; and the owners of a ranch that includes two groundwater wells and several seeps and springs. Environmental Stewardship’s members are concerned that the pumping of groundwater that will be allowed under the adopted DFCs will negatively impact their access to their water and water rights. For example, the ranch owners are concerned that increased pumping of groundwater will result in the permanent drying of the springs on their property and may jeopardize the continued operation of their ranch. At issue is the TWDBs review, in 2011, of DFCs adopted by GMA-12 for the Sparta, Queen City, Carrizo-Wilcox, Calvert Bluff, Simsboro, Hooper, Yegua-Jackson, and Brazos River Alluvium aquifers, in response to a petition that was filed by Environmental Stewardship appealing those DFCs. The GMA-12 DFCs are expressed as an average aquifer drawdown in feet, measured from January 2000 to December 2059. Different DFCs 8
on an appeal of a DFC is not a final agency action capable of judicial review because it is ultimately not binding on the GCDs. (The 2011 Legislation has changed the law so that individual GCDs are now required to adopt relevant DFCs.) A similar request for dismissal was granted by the district court in another lawsuit in which Mesa Water had appealed the determination of TWDB that the DFCs adopted for GMA 1 were reasonable, a case that was later voluntarily dismissed. It is likely that Environmental Stewardship will argue that its lawsuit is different from Mesa Water’s such that the courts have jurisdiction over Environmental Stewardship’s claims. However, even if Environmental Stewardship’s lawsuit is ultimately successful, the appropriate remedy may be for TWDB to go back and consider impacts to spring flow, surface water, and surface water rights, in determining the reasonableness of the GMA-12 DFCs, and that upon doing so, TWDB will again determine that those DFCs are reasonable.
interactions between groundwater and surface water;” before voting on the DFCs (Tex. Water Code § 36.108(d)(4)); GCDs’ management plans must include estimates of the annual volume of water that discharges from each aquifer to springs and any surface water bodies (Tex. Water Code Ann. § 36.1071(e)(3)(D)); 31 Tex. Admin. Code § 356.5(a)(5)(D)); and The Edwards Aquifer Authority Act expressly recognizes “the extent of the hydro-geologic connection and interaction between surface water and groundwater” (EAA Act § 1.14(a)(5)), and a central purpose of that legislation is to protect and maintain springflows at San Marcos and Comal Springs (EAA Act § 1.14(a), (h)). Conclusion Although a divide between the legal regimes governing groundwater and surface water remains, the enactment of statutes including those governing groundwater districts, and the adoption of rules by agencies since the Comanche Springs, case have established connections and some overlap between those regimes. It remains to be seen whether and how the Texas Legislature will add to those connections and how the courts will apply and interpret those connections in situations such as the Environmental Stewardship case.
Connections between groundwater and surface water under existing law Current law is not devoid of connections between groundwater and surface water. Environmental Stewardship’s lawsuit relies on the fact that under its current rules, TWDB is to consider impacts to spring flow, and other interactions between groundwater and surface water, when determining whether a DFC is reasonable. Some of the other connections between groundwater and surface water under existing law are listed below: GCDs are required to consider – prior to granting or denying a permit – whether the proposed use of water unreasonably affects existing surface water resources or existing permit holders prior to granting or denying a permit (Tex. Water Code § 36.113(d) (2)); Likewise, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is required to consider the effects, if any, on groundwater or groundwater recharge, in considering an application for a permit to store, take, or divert surface water (Tex. Water Code § 11.151); TWDB rules may it clear that DFCs may be based on spring flows (31 Tex. Admin. Code § 356.2(8); GCDs are required to consider “environmental impacts, including impacts on spring flow and other
Drew Miller is the 20122013 TWCA Water Laws Committee Chair and a partner at the Austin office of Kemp Smith LLP where he serves as the chair of his firm’s Environmental, Administrative and Public Law Department. Drew represents public and private entity clients across Texas in the areas of water and environmental law, specializing in groundwater regulation and issues involving contaminated property. If you would like additional information or have questions related to this article or other matters, please contact Drew at 512-320-5466 or email@example.com. 9
Water Conservation on the Golf Course...
Horseshoe Bay Resort Sets an Excellent Example For those among us who scoff at the practice of using large quantities of potable water in dry climes or during droughts to irrigate broad sweeps of well-manicured links, scoff no more. Golf course superintendents across America are among the best – if not the best – conservationists out there in this time of looming water shortages. If you don’t believe me, take it from former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue who, in 2007 during Georgia’s most severe drought in decades, applauded only one group of professionals for their expertise in water management… And why wouldn’t golf course managers respect this most precious of all natural resources? After all, it’s the life blood of an almost $80 billion a year industry. If not sourced and utilized properly, a poorly managed water supply can be the death knell to what is first and foremost a viable commercial activity, and second, frequently the most beautiful, environmentally sound, recreational asset in a community. But why should we use precious potable water to maintain golf courses green for the enjoyment of a tiny portion of our local populace? In fact, very much potable water for such purposes. According to the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), a leading golf organization since 1926,
only 14% of golf courses utilize water from municipal systems. And golf courses account for only 0.5% of all water use annually and just 1½% of all irrigated water applied. Recycled water is used by 12% of golf facilities, a number that small only because such use is limited by the availability of effluent water and by the lack of water-provider infrastructure to deliver it. Smart golf course superintendents utilize many methods to conserve water. They hand water critical areas, use wetting agents to deal with localized turfgrass dry spots, and these days, keep turf drier than in times past to name just a few. Customers seldom complain about the latter practice. Golfers abhor spongy fairways and delight in the added distance firm, dry fairways provide…but that’s another topic. Research provides key information... The careful study of turf grass and soil conditions is an important tool for golf course superintendents in determining when to apply water. And the use of evapotranspiration data – minimizing the return of moisture to the air through evaporation from the soil and transpiration by plants – is an increasingly sophisticated practice. Already schooled in water conservation practices, groundskeepers’ receptiveness for and 10
utilization of advanced water-use techniques can only benefit golf facilities and the golf industry. Progress continues to be made in a number of areas, including: 1. The use of improved soil sensors to make betterinformed irrigation scheduling decisions. Depending on soil type, slope and other environmental characteristics, some areas of the typical golf course simply need less frequent, less intensive watering than others. 2. Because the supply of and demand for water is a matter unique to a given locality, the commitment of time by course managers to work collaboratively with the body politic of the community is important in the development and improvement of public policy related to such issues. 3. And an important aspect of 2. above, is that golf courses represent a potential long-term demand for local water treatment facilities. Municipal effluents must be treated and the resultant output needs a home. One obvious destination, given the development of an existing infrastructure, is the local golf course. In short, golf course managers should strive to optimize the use of reclaimed water, assuming that the available supply, water quality and costs are sustainable. 4. Proper management of turfgrass, which is an effective biological filter to further treat water, is vital. Across the country, golf courses irrigate approximately 80% of the turfgrass acreage they maintain. In the country’s west and southwest regions, where water is even more precious, course managers, generally speaking, irrigate only the turfgrass that comes into play. It follows that irrigation systems should be properly zoned to allow for such precise application. In June, TWCA members had the enviable experience of playing golf on the beautiful and immaculate golf courses at Horseshoe Bay. Those courses are neat as a new pin for a reason. In January, 2009, Texas’ original lakeside resort, Horseshoe Bay, appointed Kenneth Gorzycki, CGCS as its Director of Agronomy to manage the conditions of it three Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf courses: Apple Rock, Ram Rock and Slick Rock; Whitewater, an 18-hole Burmuda grass putting course; and Summit Rock, a then developing Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, which opened in October, 2011. After 30 years with Dallas-based ClubCorp, an owner or operator of
170 or so private clubs, and as the recent director of golf course maintenance at Austin’s Barton Creek Club & Resort, Gorzycki arrived in Horseshoe Bay wellqualified to do the job. He came as a certified golf course superintendent (CGCS by GCSAA) with an impressive list of memberships including the United States Golf Association, Texas Turf Grass Association, United States Golf Association Green Section Committee and the Lone Star Golf Course Superintendents Association. Ken is a proud Texas Aggie with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy.
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you that.” With conviction, Ken went on to say, “Golf Course Superintendents are the best irrigators in the country today. They have to be. In the first place, it’s their job to keep the golf course in good condition. Secondly, irrigation is too expensive not to be done with deference to conservation. People can learn a great deal about water conservation by talking with experienced golf course superintendents.” Asked how his operation is dealing with the current drought in Central Texas, Ken said, “Prior planning and good luck is part of the formula. The effluent water provided by the city treatment plant is a Godsend. It provides us most of the water needed to sustain good greens and tee areas. We minimize water usage on the periphery and in the rough, but even with cutbacks, things have…knock on wood… turned out better than we had reason to expect in light of the drought’s severity.” Ken is committed to sharing his Best Management Practices (BMPs) with other golf and irrigation practitioners. He’s currently working with a Texas Water Development Board committee to revise Golf Course Irrigation BMPs. Ken also serves on the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Water Management Plan Advisory Committee and chairs the Water Conservation Incentives Review Committee. Asked to detail some of his Best Management Practices for water conservation, Ken replied, “There’s nothing unique about my list. It’s mostly common sense. With regard to the natural environment, I would suggest starting with the selection of low-wateruse turfgrasses – new grasses are constantly being developed – groundcovers, shrubs and trees. Be sure to use mulches in shrub and flower beds to reduce water evaporation. And provide adequate levels of nutrients to the turf.” “From a turf maintenance perspective, I would suggest mowing heights that fit the given species of turfgrass and for its seasonal water-use characteristics. To improve water infiltration and minimize water runoff during rains or irrigation, I employ soil and turfgrass cultivation techniques such as verticutting, spiking, slicing and aerification. It’s also important
Ram Rock Course
“In addition to its natural beauty, the Horseshoe Bay community is blessed with another important commodity…water,” Ken noted in an interview. “A primary water source for the resort golf courses is the City of Horseshoe Bay waste water treatment plant, which has a capacity of 800,000 gpd.” According to Gorzycki, the treatment plant’s output currently averages around 500,000 gpd. The plant has two on-site, 50 acre feet storage ponds. This stored effluent water is pumped through a continuous backwash, filtered and pressurized to irrigate the golf courses in Horseshoe Bay West. is 100% recycled, mostly on the Horseshoe Bay golf courses. None is returned to the city’s source of water, Lake LBJ. Because Horseshoe Bay does not have a discharge permit, it delivers the water to the golf courses at no charge. “We must use it or store it. It can’t be dumped,” Ken explained. “On those occasions when we have too much supply coming from the treatment plant – and the storage ponds are full – the water is delivered to nearby hay fields. Generally speaking, however, we could use more water, particularly during the heat of summer.” Ken, who is in his fourth year at Horseshoe Bay, has a strong water conservation philosophy. “It’s simply the right thing to do, particularly in a dry climate like Central Texas,” he said. “Water conservation is critical to the operation of golf courses today. It makes business sense and it makes course management sense.” Underscoring an earlier point, Gorzycki maintained that the best course condition is firm and dry. “Our members will be the first to tell 12
to locate trouble spots and improve drainage as needed to produce healthier turf and improve root systems. Where possible, cart traffic should be limited to hardened paths. This minimizes turf wear and soil compaction. And it makes sense to root-prune trees in critical turf areas to minimize competition for moisture and nutrients. Lastly, I would suggest that groundskeepers stay current on the latest irrigation technology, and when using it, to cycle their irrigation sessions to ensure proper infiltration and to minimize runoff.” “It’s important that golf course superintendents be good stewards of the environment,” Ken continued. “I think all superintendents should consider creating an . One that lists what they are , but that also lists what they …perhaps a digitized/ web-based template – a checklist, if you will – to be used to perform regularly scheduled environmental audits. This self-imposed “report card” could then be used to consider the options available to improve efficiency.”
Gorzycki mentioned just a few environmental considerations. He stressed that during golf course design and maintenance, the preservation and/or creation of both wildlife and plant species habitats should be carefully considered. Regarding wildlife, food, water, “unmaintained” cover and animal range should be considered. And native and/or naturalized vegetation, to the extent possible, should be retained or replanted in areas not in play. “It is important to respect the uniqueness of the existing ecosystem(s) into which the course has been or will be integrated,” he said. “And water reuse strategies are crucial, with emphasis on irrigation, drainage and retention systems that provide for the efficient use of effluent water and the protection of water quality. Regarding the latter, proper day-today fertilizer and chemical use and safety (i.e., the safe storage, application and handling) is extremely important.” “The catalog of golf course environmental considerations is long,” Ken said in summary. “That’s why an environmental resume or routinely monitored check list is so important. Every superintendent should develop one.” Asked why he gets involved in so many extracurricular conservation activities, Gorzycki replied, “It’s important that the experienced people in golf course maintenance share their BMPs with the newcomers among us so that they, too, can initiate proven-to-work practices. And despite 35 years of experience, I continue to learn from my interaction with others. Besides, it’s the right thing to do. My philosophy, to the extent that I can, is to do well by doing good.”
MARK YOUR CALENDARS... TWCA FALL MEETING October 24-26, 2012 The Crowne Plaza Riverwalk Hotel San Antonio, TX 13
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issues such as the sequester, tax policy, and a host of other unfinished business will likely keep the Congress in session until right before Christmas, perhaps even Christmas Eve. If you look at your calendars, Charismas Eve is on a Monday. Our personal bet is that if the Congress is still going on Friday, December 21, that we will see a “Christmas miracle” a Congress will somehow manage to complete its work on the weekend of December 22-23 and still make it home for Christmas.
Continued from page 6 Some Hope from Bipartisan Talks At least in the Senate there are bipartisan talks expected during the current recess on potential comprises to deal with the fiscal cliff. A group of eight Senators (known as the “Gang of Eight”) is taking seriously about tax and spending issues and means to resolve the dilemma. Another group of Senators, headed by Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have petitioned Senate leadership to “…help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid damage to our nation security, important domestic priorities and the nation’s economy.” According to CQ Today, House Republicans, for their part, say they have no plans to talk with Democrats about budget issues before the November elections. Spending as Usual Anticipated for Federal Agencies With all this up in the air right now, apparently the Office of Management and Budget has some confidence that the issues will be avoided. In a routine memo issued by the OMB each September to provide direction to federal agencies on how to operate under continuing resolutions, the agencies were told to continue normal spending and operations. However, OMB did recognize the threatened sequester, telling agencies “…to ignore it, for now. If necessary, the bulletin will be amended to address that sequestration.” In or Out of Session and For How Long? If you wanted to be involved with a successful wager, you might offer to bet people on whether Congress is in recess right now. Many would probably respond, “They are in recess and won’t go back until November 13th for the lame duck.” And you would win your bet. The fact is that both the House and the Senate are in session several times a week. At least technically. For example, a Senate session earlier this week lasted 13 seconds before adjournment was announced. Pretty hard to do much floor business in such a time span. But other than the current “pro-forma” sessions, Congress won’t really be back until November 13, which is the start of the “lame duck.” We have been told that the opening act of the lame duck will begin with about a week’s worth of work. Then adjournment for Thanksgiving. And then back into session the last week of November. There will be an attempt to wrap things up by mid-December. But we have been told that huge
New Chief’s Remarks The Corps’ leadership made a series of excellent presentations at the recent National Waterways Conference meeting. The newly appointed Chief of Engineers LTG Thomas Bostick was the keynote. Giving an overview of the USACE focus for the future, Chief Bostick cited military preparedness and the Civil Works transformation as critical needs. He recognized that the nation’s water resources infrastructure has exceeded its design life and will require more extensive maintenance and rehabilitation in the future. “The Corps will have to prioritize projects and programs with rigorous analysis to ensure the greatest value for the taxpayer funds.” Certainly the aging civil works infrastructure is one of those challenges. Important to TWCA, the Chief noted that as dams have aged and downstream development has increased, the number of deficient dams has risen to more than 4,000, including 1,819 high hazard potential dams. Over the past six years, for every deficient, high hazard potential dam repaired, nearly two more were declared deficient. There are more than 85,000 dams in the U.S., and the average age is just over 51 years old. Civil Works Focus: Transform Civil Works With respect to the Civil Works, Chief Bostick provided the overview and Steve Stockton the specifics of the
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Leroy Goodson to Receive TGWA’s Life Member Award
TWCA’s Confluence Newsletter gratefully acknowledges the 2012 Sponsors who make this communication among members possible...
Texas Ground Water Association Executive Secretary Leroy Goodson will receive a Life Member Award from the National Ground Water Association for special service in the furtherance of the groundwater industry and NGWA. The award will be presented in Decem ber at the NGWA Gr ou n dwa ter Expo and Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. Goodson has been executive secretary his entire 31 years at the TGWA. During that time, TGWA’s membership has grown from 400 members to about 1,600 members. “Leroy was instrumental in the development of continuing education for the licensees in the groundwater industry and has a true love for those involved in this profession,” said TGWA President Jason Cadwallader, Goodson’s nominator, noting that the nomination was supported unanimously by the TGWA Board of Directors.
PLATINUM AECOM Angelina & Neches River Authority Freese and Nichols, Inc. Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P. C. North Texas Municipal Water District SAIC Energy, Environment & Infrastructure LLC San Antonio River Authority Tarrant Regional Water District GOLD Brazoria Drainage District No. 4 Brown & Gay Engineers, Inc. Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District Colorado River Municipal Water District Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority Harlingen Irrigation District Cameron County #1 Jefferson County Drainage District #6 Lavaca-Navidad River Authority Lower Neches Valley Authority North Harris County Regional Water Authority Northeast Texas Municipal Water District Sabine River Authority of Texas San Jacinto River Authority Titus County Fresh Water Supply District #1 TWCA Risk Management Fund Upper Neches River Municipal Water Authority SILVER Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District Cameron County Drainage District #1 Canadian River Municipal Water Authority Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District Franklin County Water District J. Stowe & Co., LLC K. Friese & Associates, Inc. BRONZE Bell Engineers and Consulting, Inc. Brazoria County Groundwater Conservation District John E. Burke & Associates LLC Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. Klotz Associates, Inc. Plum Creek Conservation District Texas Water Foundation, Inc.
New Outreach for TWCA
By David Harkins, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Vice President - RPS Espey We’ve come a very long way from the Paleo-Indians who inhabited Texas thousands of years ago. In fact, it would be a stretch to draw many comparisons between such diverse inhabitants then and now... with the possible exception of love of family and respect for the environment. We’ve evolved from using smoke signals to internet blasts and social media in less than ten thousand years! Yet the challenge remains the same -- exchanging information, ideas, and news in a timely (and actionable) manner. This was the assignment tackled by a Membership Panel task force in 2010 when they began envisioning the kind of communications efforts appropriate for the top membership water organization in the State. The group included Tom Michel, Deputy General Manager, Harris-Galveston Subsidence District; David Harkins, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Vice President - RPS a: the imparting or exchanging of information or news Espey; and chaired by Jason Hill, Lloyd Gosselink b: the successful conveying or sharing of ideas Rochelle & Townsend, P.C. and feelings According to Tom Michel, “As water issues c: personnel engaged in transmitting or continued to intensify globally – and with a Texas exchanging information Legislative Session on the horizon -- the Association’s d: a technique for expressing ideas effectively challenge to provide timely and pertinent information (as in speech) had escalated correspondingly. In today’s fast-paced, e: all of the above. 24/7, high-tech information arena,” Michel continued, “we are inundated by sophisticated and instantaneous communication strategies, each competing for our
You’re invited! Please make plans to attend our Communications Themed Reception, sponsored on behalf of the Membership and Services Committee by Brown & Gay Engineers, Inc. -- 6 - 7 p.m. in the Grand Foyer, Wednesday, October 24th. 16
attention. We decided it was time to elevate the TWCA’s ability to reach its various publics efficiently and cost-effectively, utilizing a bolder outreach approach. The Task Force determined that soliciting professional communications assistance was appropriate, so we developed and distributed a Request For Proposal (RFP).” The language in the RFP was specific in outlining what skills the Task Force had concluded were necessary for a candidate to possess, including: a working knowledge of historic and contemporary water issues; superior writing and design skills; and the ability to employ a creative approach to developing a critical outreach program. Ten firms submitted proposals and, after a series of individual interviews, the Task Force selected Barbara Payne, Payne Communications, as the new consultant. She began her assignment at the June 2011 Conference in Galveston, and laughingly explained that she had been “thrown into the deep end” when at their meeting, the TWCA Board recommended taking aggressive outreach action in support of Proposition 2 (Proposed Constitutional Amendment for Water Financial Assistance Bonds).
Facebook and Twitter. An important feature on the new site is the ability to sign up for periodic electronic messages on key topics. Other conveniences -- like the ability to register online for conferences and meetings -- are progressing, with the first level of this being available for the October 2012 meeting. As with all new things, the interactive components will take some time to tweak. The Association’s Facebook section (accessible from the home page) is becoming more popular and as its use grows, new information will be introduced. Same is true for Twitter. Social media programs tend to peak and lag, so the objective is to be flexible and able to maximize the programs that appear to resonate with members. During the Membership and Services Committee meetings at each of the TWCA conferences, participants have been especially helpful in advancing communications strategies and ideas, and this is expected to continue. Since communications is always (or certainly should be) a two-way street, soliciting input and ideas from all interested parties will be important in order to incorporate key concepts of interest to the diverse TWCA membership. The same input will be useful in the production of the Association’s newsletter, as well. CONFLUENCE The October 2012 newsletter is the third new format edition of CONFLUENCE, now “reinvented” into digital publishing and distribution. Special reports continue to be included, sharing important insight from the Federal Affairs and Water Law committees. This edition contains the first in a series of “Frequently Asked Questions” that will focus on items of interest to TWCA members, but perhaps not readily accessible. Members can use the “contact us” section on the website to submit their questions by selecting “Info” from the pull down menu. June 2012
Texas Water Conservation Association 221 E. 9th Street, Ste. 206 Austin, Texas 78701-2510 512-472-7216 Fax: 512-472-0537 http://www.twca.org Officers Luana Buckner, President Phillip J. Ford, President-Elect
James M. Parks, Immediate Past President
Association Staff Leroy Goodson General Manager e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Dean Robbins Assistant General Manager email@example.com
Popular Venue Draws A Crowd for TWCA June Meeting in Horseshoe Bay
TWCA members will be travelling from all over the state to the popular Horseshoe Bay Resort in the Texas Hill Country. There’s a full agenda planned for the event, kicked off by the 6th Annual Jim Adams Memorial Golf Tournament on the Ram Rock Course Wednesday afternoon, with a 1:00 pm tee off. The TWCA/RMF reception will begin at 5:30 pm. (Visit the website--www.twca.org -- for the latest agenda.) Beginning in the morning on Thursday, the panels will all meet between 9 am and noon, with the General Session kicking off at 1 pm with remarks by the Mayor of Horseshoe Bay, Robert Lambert. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from the Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Troy Fraser; from TCEQ Chair Bryan Shaw, PhD; and from Melanie Callahan, Executive Administrator, TWDB. Rounding out the session -- prior to the Board of Directors meeting -- is Carlos Peña, Principal Engineer, United States Section of the International Boundary & Water Commission. Critical topics, such as a national perspective on water issues, water conservation, and the Lake Granbury study, complete the afternoon’s discussions. Back by popular demand is a Reception and Dance, featuring Cactus Country Band that will surely set your toes a’tapping. The festivities begin at 6:30 in Salons ABCD. Off to an early start on Friday morning with opening remarks by Burnet County Judge, Donna Klaeger. Reuse will be one of the hot topics for the morning, along with remarks by Brigadier General Thomas W. Kula, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Robert Mace will be on hand to explain that the “Drought Ain’t Over ‘til it’s Over”. Developments in groundwater hydrology and a review of the endangered species act close out the program. According to General Manager Leroy Goodson, “We are looking forward to hearing from this distinguished group of speakers and to the fellowship these meetings provide.”
Opinions expressed in Confluence are those of the writer and not necessarily those of TWCA, its officers, directors or staff. © 2012, TWCA
New Cyber Image… There was unanimous agreement that the website needed priority attention, so this was the first project tackled under the new agreement. Soon a new, easily navigable, esthetically pleasing website appeared online and, based on the direction provided by the Task Force, new sections appeared... including 17
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Can you hear me now?
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Another critical area identified by participants at Committee meetings is the challenge of making new TWCA members feel comfortable and welcome when they attend their first meeting. The concept of a new member packet is under review, to include information about the Association and how it operates, so that new members can make intelligent decisions about how they’d like to participate to get the most from their membership. The Membership and Services Committee is once again pleased to host a Reception for all TWCA members on Wednesday October 24, 6-7 pm in the Grand Foyer. The event is generously sponsored by Brown & Gay Engineers, Inc. on behalf of the Committee. Please also plan to attend the Committee’s presentation -- Can you Hear Me Now? -- during the General Session on Friday morning, 10:30 a.m. We are interested in hearing from YOU, and how YOU think we can continue to improve communication!
Civil Works Transformation. It is important for TWCA members, particularly those that are local sponsors for Corps projects, to be familiar with the process. The Corps is seeking input, and TWCA should organize an effort to provide it. The TWCA Federal Affairs Committee will take up the issue. The objective of the Civil Work Transformation is deliver the best possible products and services to the Nation by: Modernizing the project planning process (Feasibility Studies – 3 years x $3 million x 3 levels of review AND less than 3" binder) Working with the Administration, Congress, and our internal team to enhance and refine the budget development process through a systems-oriented watershed approach, collaboration, and innovative financing. Evaluating the current and required portfolio of water resources projects through a smart infrastructure strategy. Improving methods of delivery to produce and deliver critical products and services on schedule. Engaging other governmental and non-governmental partners in working toward National, Regional and Local priorities. How these objectives will translate to local projects is not clear, at least at this point. Corps of Engineers Readies for CWA “Field Initiatives” One of the most important unresolved issues is how to define “waters of the US.” You will recall that over the past three years, this has been the focus of legislation that the Congress was never able to agree as well as Administration attempts to develop either a Rule or Guidance to resolve the issue. A detailed briefing was presented on the FY13 Corps proposed budget. A total budget of $ 4.731 Billion was broken down by business lines, which showed that for most major business item related to water resources (navigation, flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, and hydropower) there was a significant decrease in the FY13 proposed budget as compared to the FY12 budget or FY12 appropriated funds. However, two line items, recreation and regulatory, received increased in the FY13 budget: recreation and regulatory. There was $9 million increase over the FY12 budget ($12 million if compared to the FY12 appropriated amount) for “regulatory support.” Regulatory support was one item that Congress actually
cut. When questioned about this line item, it turns out that, in addition to rulemaking and inflation cost, this increase is “…to implement new field level initiatives for Clean Water Act jurisdictional determination….” We should recognize that the regulatory programs were imposed on the Corps of Engineers; the budgeting for it is a response to those mandates. It is interesting; however, that while the Administration has not announced how it would approach the “waters of the US” issue in a second term, it has requested funding to support increased regulatory outreach in connection with the issuing of Guidance. TWCA through its Federal Affairs Committee will need to understand what “new field level initiatives” are being considered in the FY13 budget. In the past, the TWCA and its Federal Affairs expressed a preference for working through a rule making process on this issue with its transparency and stakeholder involvement. But the issuing of Guidance which has been developed almost completely out of the public view but still has the force of a Rule would be very different scenario. Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill -- Omnibus Funding In late September, the Senate issued the FY 2013 Interior and Environmental, the only remaining spending bill to be released. The House has completed all its appropriation bills and cleared six through the full House; the full Senate has yet to take up any individual spending bill. With all twelve appropriations bills in both houses, the effort to resolve issues between the House and Senate versions can begin and perhaps lead to an omnibus spending bill for consideration in the Lame Duck. However, although preserving any mark-up arrangements omnibus spending bills are complex to put together, the spending levels may be too high for conservatives, and the White House may consider waiting for the new Congress to potentially improve chances for funding the White House priorities. President Obama did sign a six month stopgap funding measure (H J Res 117) to extend funding through March 27th. Considering that the lame duck will face debates on the Bush tax cuts and how to deal with sequestration cuts, a year-long Continuing Resolution may result from all this, with the funding levels tied to those established in the Budget Control Act of 2011. In that Senate Interior Appropriations bill, EPA would receive $ 8.5 billion or about $100 million more than the current spending level. That increase will be a problem for House appropriators. The House bill cut EPA funding by 17 percent, citing criticisms of overregulation by the agency.
Business As Usual No Longer Viable for Managing U.S. Army Corps Water Infrastructure -- National Research Council Report The Corps of Engineers sponsored a NRC report on its infrastructure; the draft version is now available for public review. According to the NRC new release, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faces an ‘unsustainable situation’ in maintaining its national water projects at acceptable levels of performance.” The report is available online:http:// www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13508> The report suggests expanding revenues and strengthening partnerships among the private and public sectors as options to manage the Corps’ aging water infrastructure, which includes levees and dams. However, the NRC may be short on water resources planners and managers, its Committee chair remarked, “The country’s water resources infrastructure is largely built-out, and there are limited sites to construct new projects.” Obviously, the chairman was not familiar with the Texas Water Plan! Steve Stockton also disagreed with this statement, “We tried to make it clear that while many of the major river systems have been developed, there is a huge backlog of unmet water resource needs. As the Nation grows, this backlog will continue to increase unless we develop a sustainable strategy.” Texas Water Day 2013 Planning is underway for Texas Water Day 2013 is set for February 6-7, 2013. Mark your calendars and consider helping us put the final plans together by joining the Texas Water Day Steering Committee.
Tom Ray of Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, has followed national water issues for more than 20 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 19
TWCA WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS City of College Station Contact: David M. Coleman,P.E. College Station, TX Water Quest, Inc. Contact: Wendy Gordon, Ph.D. Odessa, TX Offices of Marc A. Rodriguez Contact: Marc A. Rodriguez Austin, TX Fayette County Groundwater Conservation District Contact: David VanDresar LaGrange, TX EDITORIAL SERVICES...
Barbara Payne 281-893-2099 email@example.com 20