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GBRA's grab for water verbally dismissed

By Sara Sneath
June 5, 2014 at 1:05 a.m.


Travis County Judge Stephen Yelenoski verbally dismissed the suit filed by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority to speed up a decision allowing the authority to build one or more reservoirs in Calhoun County.

The river authority has long held a plan to build reservoirs in Calhoun County, but a debate over who owns the water that would be used to fill those reservoirs brought the authority before a Travis County judge Tuesday.

Officials at the San Antonio Water System maintained the water the system pumps from the ground, uses, cleans and puts into the San Antonio River is theirs and an application for an authorization with the state environmental agency will secure that claim.

But the river authority maintained its senior water rights depend on the water the San Antonio Water System puts into the river and a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality authorization would jeopardize those rights.

The water authority brought the issue before a judge in Travis County on Tuesday to seek a ruling on the matter, a decision that would otherwise be decided by the state's environmental agency under the San Antonio Water System's application.

In his verbal ruling Tuesday, Yelenoski indicated he would leave the decision to the state in his written ruling. But the river authority said the ruling is not out yet.

"Pending the outcome of his final written ruling, that's when we'll be able to determine what steps we'll take," said GBRA spokeswoman LaMarriol Smith.

Despite the possible setback, GBRA continues to move forward with its plans to build one or more reservoirs in Calhoun County.

"This does not diminish our support or our enthusiasm for our lower basin water supply project," said Bill West Jr., GBRA general manager.

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