Loan secures Martindale water rights
By LPR Staff
Early this week, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved a loan to the Martindale Water Supply Corporation to assist in the purchase of water rights in Caldwell County.
According to a release distributed by TWDB on Monday, the Martindale WSC applied for and received a loan upwards of $1.5 million to secure purc
hase of water rights on the San Marcos River. The rights, according to WSC General Manager Steve Fonville, were recently put on the open market by descendants of the original property owners.
“We have been leasing the water rights since 1997,” Fonville said on Wednesday. “When the owners put [the water rights] on the market, we realized if we weren”t able to purchase them outright, we would be at the mercy of a new owner… that might take the water out of Caldwell County.”
Fonville said the rights are most valuable because of the way the grant of the rights is structured. Unlike in other areas where water cannot be pumped under certain drought conditions, the rights in question are “firm,” meaning as long as the San Marcos River continues to flow, the water can be drawn.
“This purchase will ensure that we have the water we suggested in the projections we”re required to make by the Water Development Board,” Fonville said. “It will also keep most of the water in the San Marcos River, because our members don”t use nearly the amount that we”re required to project per tap.”
Another owner, Fonville said, could have pumped water out of the river and transferred it to another location, creating not only a possible shortage for usable water, but impacting recreational use of the river downstream.
The loan, which will be amortized over a period of 40 years, commits the WSC to monthly payments of around $7,400 each month, a rate Fonville said was already projected in members” costs.
“We may have to raise rates in the future – because everything naturally goes up [in cost],” he said. “But our board felt this acquisition was in the best interest of our members.”
Fonville said Martindale WSC only acquired a portion of the available water rights. Other portions were purchased by the Canyon Regional Water Authority, which acted, in part, on behalf of the Maxwell, County Line and Crystal Clear Water Supply Corporations.