The Edwards Aquifer provides San Antonio with an abundant and vital source of groundwater. Roughly 70 percent of San Antonio's water originates as recharge from counties located west of Bexar County. Rainfall enters the Edwards Aquifer through fractures, caves, sinkholes and other features and replenishes the Aquifer. However, rapid growth and development over the recharge and contributing zones of the Aquifer adversely impact it by reducing the number of recharge features able to maintain San Antonio's primary water resource.
The Edwards Aquifer Protection Program (EAPP) has been in place since May 2020, funded by a portion of a voter-approved 1/8-cent sales tax venue. The EAPP protects the Edwards Aquifer through the acquisition of property rights including fee simple purchases, conservation easements, and donations of land over the sensitive zones of the Aquifer. Perpetual conservation easements benefit San Antonio residents by limiting the amount of increased impervious cover allowable on the protected properties in order to preserve the quantity and quality of water recharging into the Edwards Aquifer. To date, the EAPP has protected 161,511 acres over the Edwards Aquifer recharge and contributing zones through purchase of property and negotiation of conservation easements.
The current iteration of funding for the EAPP was most recently approved in 2015 at $100 million from the 1/8-cent sales tax venue. When this tax expires in the Spring of 2021, $325 million will have been collected since program inception in 2000 for Edwards Aquifer protection.
On August 13, 2020, the City Council approved an Ordinance which places a proposition on the November 3, 2020 ballot for workforce training and higher education, effectively redirecting currently funded sales tax programs including the EAPP. Given the significant importance of the EAPP, an alternative funding plan has been developed to continue the EAPP. This alternative funding plan was approved by City Council on September 17, 2020 and includes a commitment by the City of $100 million in funding for the EAPP over a period of up to ten years. Funding from the current 1/8-cent sales tax is expected to carry the EAPP through FY 2022, and as such, the proposed alternative funding would begin in FY 2023 resulting in a seamless transition.
To learn more the EAPP’s accomplishments, future funding plan, plan benefits, and frequently asked questions, please view the Brochure PDF.
For more detailed information on the EAPP and the alternative funding plan, please view the Alternative Funding Plan PDF.
For the City Council adopted Ordinance and the Programmatic and Financing Agreement for the EAPP, please view the following:
Programmatic and Financing Agreement PDF
Conservation Advisory Board Resolution
The Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) has been in place since 2000 and was created to provide input and advice on the EAPP. This 9-member body is comprised of members appointed by the San Antonio City Council for two-year terms. City Ordinance provides for nominees from the following subdivisions, agencies or organizations: Texas Parks and Wildlife, Edwards Aquifer Authority, San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio Water System, Parks & Recreation Advisory Board, The Economic Development Foundation, Medina County, Uvalde County, and the Director of the San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department.
The CAB has reviewed the alternative funding plan for the EAPP. On August 26, 2020, the CAB approved a Resolution supporting the funding alternative to continue the City’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program to include the functions of the Conservation Advisory Board.
View the CAB Resolution PDF