The History And Future Of The Edwards Aquifer Authority

Oct 11, 2016

A full house at the Pearl Stable was on hand to reflect on the legacy of the Edwards Aquifer Authority on the occasion of its 20th anniversary, and look to the future, at the San Antonio Clean Technology Forum’s seventh annual Water Forum and luncheon.

The morning opened with the presentation of the fifth annual Water For Life award, recognizing an individual in the region who has made a significant, water-related contribution to the quality of life in our community. There were seven finalists for the award, which was presented  to Suzanne Scott, General Manager of the San Antonio River Authority. “We are so appreciative of her leadership,” noted presenter Nelson Wolff. “She understands [water] issues probably better than anyone else in this community,” he continued.

In accepting the award, Scott praised her team, and encouraged all to be good stewards of our waterways. “They were here before we were here… they’re important to not only where we’ve been, but where we are going.”

Suzanne Scott accepts the Water For Life award.
Credit Kyle Craig Photography

After introductions and a keynote address by author Joe Nick Patoski, moderator Robert Rivard opened a panel discussion with a focus on the history of the Edwards Aquifer Authority and the factions that came together to finally agree upon a plan for management of the aquifer. (For an excellent article on the half-century of history that serves as a primer for the below discussion, see Rivard’s post on his website.)

From there, the conversation turned to the future of the aquifer and our region’s water needs. State Senator José Menéndez pointed out the benefits of rainwater capture, and Rivard asked, “Is there enough water… even as we diversify our supply?”

Edwards Aquifer Authority General Manager Roland Ruiz responded by emphasizing a need for public education beyond just conservation. “The Edwards itself is a resource that is protected and safeguarded,” Ruiz explained. “Now we need to protect the quality. Without good quality, the quantity means nothing.”

Referring to the 1/8 cent sales tax for aquifer protection approved by San Antonio voters in 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015, Rivard asked if it will go on indefinitely. “Probably,” responded EAA board chair Luana Buckner. Ruiz said the tax is a good example of a “non-regulatory approach that has created a win-win situation. We need to identify more of those types of opportunities,” Ruiz said. “We need to look at this in the long view."

Listen to the audio for more information, including:

  • Privatization of water?
  • Where the water in Texas is located
  • How abandoned wells affect water quality

Full audio below:

Moderator:

  • Robert Rivard, Founder and Director, The Rivard Report

Panelists:

  • José Menéndez, State Senator, District 26
  • Doug Miller, State Representative, District 73
  • Tracy King, State Representative, District 80
  • Luana Buckner, Board Chair, Edwards Aquifer Authority
  • Roland Ruiz, General Manager, Edwards Aquifer Authority