The Edwards Aquifer Authority manages, enhances, and protects the Edwards Aquifer system.
The Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) is a regional water management agency that regulates the use
of the aquifer through integrity, transparency,
and respect for the resource and the people that
The EAA Act was adopted by the Texas Legislature in 1993 in response to the legal threat of a federal
takeover of the aquifer under the Endangered
Species Act. The Act created the EAA as a political
subdivision of the state to preserve and protect
the Edwards Aquifer. By mandating a capped
permitting system that limits withdrawals from
the aquifer, the Act was intended to preserve
the aquifer while also protecting threatened and
endangered species in the aquifer-fed Comal
and San Marcos springs to the extent required
by federal law. Legal challenges related to the
passage of the Act delayed the EAA operating
until June 1996.
The EAA plays a critical role in the continued wellbeing of an eight-county region (Atascosa, Bexar, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays, Medina and Uvalde) by helping to ensure the conservation and sustainability of the Edwards Aquifer. A 17-member board of directors govern the agency as prescribed by the EAA Act. 15 directors are elected from single-member districts across the region. The other two, non- voting directors, are appointed—one on an alternating basis by the Commissioners Courts of Medina and Uvalde counties, and the other by the South Central Texas Water Advisory Committee (SCTWAC). SCTWAC advises the EAA’s board of directors on downstream water rights and issues.
The board chairman annually appoints directors to serve on ad hoc committees that consider and make recommendations to the board concerning matters of interest to the EAA. This is an opportunity for directors to work closely on areas of interest and expertise. The standing committees of the board and their responsibilities are: BOARD COMMITTEES
Sets the agenda for the board and, when necessary, considers and makes recommendations on issues within the jurisdiction of other board committees that are unable to meet or to establish a quorum in order to efficiently and expeditiously transact the business of the EAA. On occasion, the Executive Committee serves as the Legislative Committee of the EAA.
AQUIFER MANAGEMENT PLANNING
Considers and makes recommendations on matters relating to the Critical Period Management Plan; new supply sources; implementation of alternative management practices, procedures and methods; other strategies for achieving the mandates of the EAA Act; water quality; and recharge issues.
FINANCE / ADMINISTRATIVE
Is chaired by the treasurer of the board and considers and makes recommendations on matters relating to internal fiscal operations; audit activities; budget; all fees; management policies and oversight; internal organization and oversight; employee policies and benefits; public information; EAA Bylaw review; General Counsel and other legal services; and meeting procedures.
Considers and makes recommendations on matters relating to the regulation of Edwards groundwater withdrawal permits and other matters relating to monitoring, reporting and metering of Edwards groundwater use.
RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY
Considers and makes recommendations on matters relating to the collection and development of scientific data; the technological assessment of alternative management practices, procedures and methods; and technical studies.
Updated annually, the Strategic Plan serves as a blueprint for meeting the EAA’s legislative mandate and overall mission. Generally, there are two thematic areas:
AQUIFER CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION
These are two fundamental objectives of the EAA’s statutory mission and they are reflected prominently in the agency’s strategic goals. Underscoring the significance of these goals is the region’s anticipated population growth over the next 50 years. This increased demand for water reinforces the importance of the EAA’s role in the effective management of groundwater withdrawals from the aquifer. Likewise, as population grows, protecting the quality of water in the aquifer will remain extremely critical to the region. Effective policy and regulation requires accurate and timely information that provides knowledge of the aquifer and an awareness of the agency to the public. To accomplish these strategic goals, an infrastructure of professional staff and the supporting facilities that complements these efforts is needed. Stability of aquifer management fees and appropriate reserves for Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan funding must also be maintained. ORGANIZATIONAL EFFICIENCY
ORGANIZATIONAL TEAM STRUCTURE
Board of Directors
Deputy General Manager
ED Habitat Conservation Program
ED External & Regulatory Affairs
ED Aquifer Management Services
ED Administration & Financial Services
Aquifer Science Research
Communications & External Affairs
Modeling & Research
Modeling Data & Management
Regulatory Affairs & Water Resources
San Marcos Springs
ED = Executive Director
HOW IS THE EAA FUNDED? The EAA assesses aquifer management fees based on the amount of groundwater (measured in acre-feet) a permit holder is authorized to withdraw each year. Aquifer management fees for industrial and municipal users are based on an amount necessary to finance the programs required to be performed by the EAA Act. According to the Act, fees for agricultural users are capped at $2 per acre-foot.
HISTORY OF FEES
Below is a summary of aquifer management fee and program aquifer management fee rates since 2010:
AQUIFER MANAGEMENT FEE HISTORY [ DOLLARS PER ACRE-FOOT ]
PROGRAM AQUIFER MANAGEMENT FEE *
* In 2012 a program aquifer management fee was added to fund implementation of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan for the conservation of the aquifer during historic drought and the protection of federally listed species in the Comal and San Marcos springs.
$100 $120 $140 $160 $180 $200
$0 $20 $40 $60 $80
LCRA [ 2015 Business Plan ]
BSEACD [ 2015 Fee Schedule ]
GBRA [ 2015 Budget ]
EAA GENERAL & EAHCP [ 2016 Proposed ]
* As of 8 / 31 / 15
The Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan (EAHCP) protects federally listed threatened and endangered species in the Comal and San Marcos springs. The plan was developed through a consensus-based process by a diverse group of stakeholders including industries, agricultural users, municipalities, environmental organizations, four state agencies, and groups with down-stream interests. The EAHCP consists of a number of measures designed to maintain minimum springflows at Comal Springs and San Marcos Springs and to protect the species and their habitats . I n 2012, the EAA board approved start-up funding for the EAHCP in anticipation of approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in early 2013. On March 18, 2013, the USFWS issued an Incidental Take Permit and an implementation process began with the leadership of representatives from the EAA, City of San Marcos, City of New Braunfels, Texas State University, San Antonio Water Systems, and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.
The Edwards Aquifer Conservancy (EAC) is a non-profit organization, under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, committed to raising money for support of the mission and programs of the EAA. These funds enhance the vast resources available for all aquifer users in areas such as critical research and developing innovative solutions to vexing, regional water challenges. The EAC provides opportunities for environmentally- conscious community partners to make a difference in conserving and protecting our shared natural resource. Through partnerships and donations, businesses, corporations, and individuals can support the work of the EAA by:
Helping to fund important scientific studies for the benefit of our water quality and quantity
Increasing the understanding and awareness of our aquifer by supporting educational programs Bringing awareness to conservation and innovative water-saving technologies
Helping to stabilize aquifer management fees for our region
All donations and gifts are used by the EAC to continuously support and improve programs that serve the community. More information can be found at www.eaconservancy.org