This proposed bill will drastically weaken regulations that have protected the North Bosque Watershed, Lake Waco and, in effect, the Waco Water Supply from pollution caused by dairy farms.
Prior to 2001, the Waco Water Supply was polluted as a result of dairy farmers spreading cow manure that would run off into the North Bosque River, and then into Lake Waco. This caused the growth of algae that can kill fish and made our water smell and taste bad. In 2001, the City of Waco successfully advocated for the passage of state legislation that would mandate stricter permits for dairies on the North Bosque watershed, along with waste management regulations. If you’ve been in Waco since that time, you will likely recall how poorly Waco water smelled and tasted during that time.
To date, while there has been significant improvement in the taste and smell of Waco water, the North Bosque River is still polluted and classified as impaired by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and as recently as 2022, TCEQ said more work needs to be done on this watershed.
HB 2827 would revert back to a permitting system that was allowed when the pollution into the watershed was at its peak. Further, it would reduce pollution prevention, testing and reporting, thus likely increasing pollution in the North Bosque River (and thus the Waco Water Supply).
Of note, the bill’s author argues that the current law is an over-regulation. Also of note, there are nearly the same number of milk cows in the counties that touch the North Bosque watershed now as there were when the 2001 legislation was passed, and the trend indicates the number of milk cows are likely to increase. However, with of the regulations in place, Waco’s water quality has improved.
Actions the City of Waco has taken to advocate for Waco’s Water Supply:
- Communicated directly with the bill’s author, Waco’s elected State representatives, as well as the House Environmental Regulations Committee, in opposition to the bill.
- Collaborated with local stakeholders like the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and Baylor University.
- Engaged and informed families who own property along the North Bosque River to ensure they able to advocate appropriately.
- Sent information the Bosque River Coalition membership.
- Sent information to the Brazos River Authority.
- Engaged the EPA and TCEQ.
- Engaged with other current and former local leaders and requesting advocacy for the Texas Legislature to oppose the passage of HB2827, or ensure there are drastic amendments made that protect the Waco Water Supply from harmful dairy farm pollution.
Citizens with opposition to or concerns about HB 2827 can contact Rep. Anderson and Sen. Birdwell:
- Doc Anderson [email protected]
- Brian Birdwell [email protected]
About the City of Waco and Lake Waco:
Lake Waco is a man-made reservoir located on the west side of Waco, in McLennan County, Texas. The City of Waco maintains the water rights to Lake Waco, which serves as the primary water source Waco as well as other cities including Bellmead,Hewitt, Robinson, Woodway and others. The City of Waco owns and operates water treatment facilities and is responsible for treating the water from the lake to make it safe for drinking and other uses.
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