LCRA - SAWS Water Agreement and Contract

In 2001, the Texas Legislature adopted legislation authorizing LCRA and the City of San Antonio to enter into a contract that could lead to the transfer of water from the Colorado River to San Antonio. In response to concerns raised by the National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Coastal Conservation Association, and others, that legislation required specific environmental protections to be included in any contract.

Despite that legislative language, the contract fails to ensure that river flows and Matagorda Bay inflows will be protected. Among other things, the authorizing legislation directs the LCRA Board to "ensure that the beneficial inflows remaining will be adequate to maintain the ecological health and productivity of the Matagorda Bay system." Initially, the draft contract merely stated that the contract included adequate protections without actually saying how it did so. In response to public comments, language was added to the contract to acknowledge the issue. However the final contract merely calls for "adequately protecting the environment of the Lower Colorado River Basin." By choosing such vague terminology, LCRA and SAWS have declined to make a firm commitment to protecting the Colorado River and Matagorda Bay.

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