Jared Capt, a local businessman and water management consultant for the city of Uvalde, reported Tuesday that the city has saved approximately $350,000 in permit fees paid to the Edwards Aquifer Authority since 2019 by following a plan to move surplus municipal water to an irrigation classification.
Capt said EAA management fees are charged at $84 per acre-foot annually on all water classified by permit for municipal use, whether or not it is used. Users are assessed fees on water designated for irrigation use only if it is used, and the city has historically had access to more acre-feet of water than is utilized.
“Back in the fall we caught this late in the year, but we moved quite a bit over, there was around $150,000 in savings in permit fees last year,” Capt said.
He said the city of Uvalde has access this year to about 6,383 acre-feet of water, of which 5,383 acre-feet are obtained from the Edwards Aquifer with no restrictions of how the water may be utilized, and the other 1,000 acre-feet of water comes from the Buda Aquifer.
Mayor Don McLaughlin Jr. said he asked to be placed on the Uvalde County Underground Water Conservation District agenda to request city access to more water from the Buda Aquifer to help diversify city water sources.
Capt makes his water usage calculations based on past history and projected water usage.
Currently, 3,633 acre-feet of water are left under a municipal use permit. Of that amount, 2,692 are classified as irrigation water, and 58 acre-feet are in groundwater trust.
“There was a little bit already under irrigation permit, and Joe moved an additional 2,500 acre-feet at the beginning of the year. We’re still looking at what’s been used year-to-date as well as what’s going to get pumped out of the Buda, but we’re still projecting somewhere in excess of about 500 acre-feet that could be moved over,” Capt said, referring to assistant city manager Joe Cardenas.
Capt’s calculations show a five-year average usage, from 2014-2018, of 3,110 acre-feet of water, which is how he calculates that about 522 acre-feet of water in the municipal category might be surplus.
“Just with what’s been moved so far you’re looking at a savings of well over $200,000 in permit fees for this calendar year.”
He said he and city staff would continue to monitor the water usage.
He explained that if the water moved to the irrigation category became needed for municipal use, it may be reclassified from the irrigation designation with no penalty at any time, with payment of a $25 fee.
He made his report at the Tuesday evening meeting of the Uvalde City Council, held starting at 6 p.m. in council chambers at city hall. Councilman Rogelio M. Muñoz did not attend the meeting.
In October of 2019 Capt addressed the council regarding his ideas about a water management plan, and they hired him as a consultant to help implement those plans.
At that time, Capt presented figures from 2009-2018, demonstrating…
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