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Mayor says Falls City has ‘plenty of water’
FALLS CITY -- “We have plenty of water,” said Falls City Mayor Brent Houdmann, following the March 14 meeting of the Falls City City Council.
Water was perhaps the most dominant topic discussed by Houdmann and councilmen Gery Jendrusch, Jeff Johnson, Steve Swierc, and Andrew Wiatrek during the meeting.
Jeremy Mandel of the city’s public works department said rumors that the city is running out of water are unfounded, despite the current Stage 4 water restrictions. These, he said, were enacted as a precautionary measure ahead of the usually hot, dry summer months because of the ongoing drought.
“We’re just now seeing what this drought has done,” Jendrusch said.
Mandel said the city’s two wells, which are fed by the Carrizo Aquifer, were free- flowing until Dec. 3. The free-flowing water also primed the surface pumps. But when the free flow of water stopped, the pumps ceased to operate. This forced the city to spend $13,000 on a submersible pump for its east well. But because the city has more than 250 water connections, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requires that a second submersible pump also be installed on the west well.
Mandel also is concerned about the fluctuation of the well levels, which he said he has seen vary as much as 60 feet in a period of 24 hours. He is working with the Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District to determine if there is a correlation between the erratic levels and peak usage.
It is unclear whether the varying levels have anything to do with the ongoing hydraulic fracturing activity associated with oil and natural gas exploration in the Eagle Ford shale or the San Antonio Water System’s use of Carrizo water to serve as a backup to the Edwards Aquifer.
This is why the city will meet with officials from the Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District, utility providers, and oil companies at 1:30 p.m. April 4 in the Lauro G. De Leon III Floresville Event Center. At the meeting, Houdmann said they hope to express concerns and find out more about Evergreen’s authority to regulate the situation.
“It’s 99 percent drought, 1 percent fracking,” Mandel said. “Look at Lake Travis in Austin; no one’s fracking out of there.”
Also during the meeting, city resident Janey Mutz expressed concern over speeding traffic on East Meyer Street, located on the southeast side of town. Mutz asked the council if the city could install speed bumps.
The council approved the installation of two speed bumps -- one in front of the Falls City Housing Authority near Panna Maria Street, the other near Hugo Street. In his motion, Jendrusch left it up to Mandel to determine whether asphalt or fiberglass speed bumps would be the more cost-effective option. Johnson seconded the motion.
In other action, the council voted unanimously to participate in the Floresville Electric Light & Power System’s (FELPS) summer youth program. Each year, FELPS gives its member cities $1 per meter, which they can use for various programs. The council also approved matching these funds and splitting the total between the city’s Little League and public library. FELPS officials indicated earlier that the city would receive $338.
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