Controversial aquifer testing continues near Driftwood

Neighbors continue to fight against aquifer testing. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)
Neighbors continue to fight against aquifer testing. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)

DRIFTWOOD, Texas (KXAN) — A company looking to drill and sell water out of an aquifer in Hays County is still causing a lot of concern for neighbors nearby. Those neighbors say if the company receives a permit to drill full-time, their wells will go dry.

Since 2015, neighbors have been rallying to protect the Middle Trinity Aquifer after the city of Buda signed an agreement with a Houston-based company called Electro Purification to pump a million gallons of water from the Trinity Aquifer every day.

On March 15, 2016, Electro Purification withdrew their Temporary Permit application and submitted a Test Well Permit application package.

“Their goal is to find an ample supply, volume and quality of water that they can sell,” said Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District Senior Hydrogeologist Brian Hunt.

For now, Electro Purification’s drilling is just a test, but could turn into much more. Hunt says their organization is working closely with the company to make sure there are no negative affects to the wells near the drilling sites.

Since testing began in November, some neighbors say they are already seeing the impacts. One neighbor told KXAN that they noticed their well dropped between 50 and 150 feet during testing. Even with a large dip, Hunt says there’s no need to be concerned just yet.

“We’re seeing a decrease in the water level on this well, but this is what we would expect to see in any normal operation of a well. You see declines and recovery,” said Hunt. “What we are more concerned about are the long-term implications. If you were to sustain this pumping for a long time at multiple wells, what would that drawdown look like in the vicinity?”

Hunt says the conservation district will spend a lot of time on the data to determine if there would be any long-term impacts. Once all their research is complete, that’s when the company will be able to apply for a drilling permit.

“We anticipate that they will come to us and ask for a certain volume of water, so they will apply for a pumping permit at some time. Right now, we don’t know what that is,” said Hunt.

KXAN did reach out to Electro Purification’s for a comment, but have yet to hear back.