Decision on Forestar permits could come in January

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The Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District held a special-called meeting Jan. 6 to discuss Forestar Real Estate Group’s application for rights to pump 45,000 acre-feet of water from land located in Bastrop and Lee counties.

The district took no action, but District President Michael Talbot said a decision could come as soon as Jan. 15.

Forestar applied for the right to pump 45,000 acre-feet of water from its leases in 2013, but the district only granted the company 12,000 acre-feet. The company has been trying to secure the additional 33,000 acre-feet ever since.

On Sept. 24, the Hays County Commissioners authorized a $1 million annual contract between the county and Forestar for a reservation of 45,000 acre-feet of water. In the contract with Hays County, Forestar has committed to using the legal system to pursue the additional 33,000 acre-feet, if necessary.

Talbot said the meeting on Jan. 6 was meant to ensure the district’s members understands the laws relating to water that will come into play when it is deciding whether or not to grant Forestar’s full application.

“We got a legal briefing from our attorney about the facts of law and those facts of law that we have to consider in our decision-making process,” Talbot said. “You can not be arbitrary and capricious in your decision-making process.”

The district is not required to have a decision until February, Talbot said.

Hays County Judge Bert Cobb has said the agreement between the county and Forestar is intended to work as a regional water supply solution for Hays, Bastrop, Williamson, Travis and other Central Texas counties.

Opponents of the contract argue that rural communities in Bastrop and Lee counties are being targeted for water exports to high-growth urban areas.

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Brett Thorne reported on education, business, economic development and city government in San Marcos, Kyle and Buda from 2012 to 2017. Thorne attended Texas State University in San Marcos, where he graduated in 2010. He joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2012 and was promoted to editor in 2013.
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