The City of San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program utilizes land and conservation easement acquisitions to protect the quality and quantity of Edwards Aquifer recharge. This review considers four key components of its viability: (1) establishing the need for action, (2) choosing an appropriate strategy and funding source, (3) defining purchase guidelines, and (4) demonstrating the program’s impact.
Overall, the analysis concludes that the program has been well adapted to the city’s need to protect the recharge and contributing zones beyond its regulatory jurisdiction. As such, it may serve as a significant model for other cities, particularly in Texas, where regulations may face legal and cultural resistance. The City has effectively educated the public on the value of this sales tax funded measure, even though some justification of its premises, such as inevitable development in western counties, remains subjective. A strong foundation is also evident, with a consistent focus on acquiring land that fits the original, narrow intent of the effort. An impediment to its continuation, however, may be the difficulty of presenting clear evidence of its success, a challenge for all policies designed to avert future harms to natural resources.Download PDF
©2018 Francine Sanders Romero