I don't want to hear any whining that legal stuff is boring. The ways that we manage the Edwards (or fail to manage it), are based on the laws and regulations that cover it, so this is important stuff!
For over a century, the 'Separation Myth' was a major hurdle in the development of an integrated and conjunctive body of water law in Texas. It involved the notion that groundwater was completely separate and different from surface water. Today we know they are not separate - they are interconnected and inseparable.
Until the late 1990s, users took water from the Edwards under the "rule of capture", the idea that the water under a person's land belongs to that person and they are free to capture and use as much as they want, regardless of the impacts on springs or other people.
In 1993, Texas Senate Bill 1477:
a) ended the "rule of capture" in the Edwards region
b) established the Edwards Aquifer Authority
c) authorized the EAA to regulate groundwater withdrawals
d) all of the above
The framework in which we have to address Edwards Aquifer issues involves the facts that:
a) all the issues are complex and emotional
b) the timelines required to solve the problems are very long
c) the investments required are huge
d) the future is uncertain
e) all of the above
In Texas, laws aimed at addressing water planning and future needs, such as by requiring Regional Plans, are usually:
a) a top priority of lawmakers right after a severe drought
b) in place long before we need them
'Conjunctive management' is the integrated management and use of two or more water resources, such as an aquifer and a surface water body. In the Edwards region, groundwaters and surface waters are all one resource, but we don't really have integrated, conjunctive management of both.
In 2007, environmentalists objected when the Texas legislature raised the pumping cap on the Edwards to:
a) 572,000 acre-feet
b) boo-koos acre-feet
c) chingos de agua
d) 1,000 acre feet
The idea behind rulemaking is that lawmakers cannot possibly address every single issue, so rulemaking authority is delegated to the staff of appropriate agencies and committees composed of interested people from around the state. Rules are NOT laws, but in reality there is little functional difference and rules essentially carry the weight of law.
Stage 1 drought restrictions begin when the 10-day average of the J-17 index well level reaches:
a) 660' above mean sea level
b) 650' above mean sea level
c) 640' above mean sea level
d) 630' above mean sea level
The EPA's Sole Source Aquifer program is intended to prevent federal funding of projects which might contaminate an aquifer that is the sole or principal source of drinking water for an area. The Edwards Aquifer was the first to be designated a Sole Source Aquifer in 1975.