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Welcome to AGUA!

AGUA is one of San Antonio's most effective environmental action organization. We use law, science, and the support of volunteers and online activists to protect our city's source of drinking water, the Edwards Aquifer. You can help keep the Hill Country beautiful and our water clean. Look around, learn, and take action.

Rainwater Harvesting Design Competition

The entries are in, and winners have been selected, in the Roots of Change Rainwater Harvesting Design Competition.

Rainwater harvesting system

Design Gallery

Visit our gallery of rainwater harvesting designs to view architectural drawings of all the entries from our contest.

About the Competition

Roots of Change Rainwater Harvesting Design Competition is intended to call attention to the need to protect America’s waters while simultaneously heightening awareness of environmental justice issues in a community context. Contestants designed systems for the Roots of Change community garden east of downtown. Visit this webpage for complete details.

The Edwards Aquifer

Map of Edward Aquifer in Bexar County

The hidden heart of Texas - the Edwards Aquifer Ecosystem - provides the essential life source for the people and wildlife of San Antonio, Texas. Prolific, fragile, and mysterious, the Aquifer, its contributing watersheds and its Great Springs supply drinking water for more than 1.8 million people, support recreation for millions of Texans and tourists alike, and provide habitat for more than 50 species of plants and animals that live here and nowhere else on Earth.

Map of Edwards Aquifer in Bexar County (1.4 MB PDF document)

Mercury Contamination in the Edwards Aquifer

This animation shows instances where mercury was detected in samples of water taken from Edwards Aquifer test wells. The animation begins with several detections in 1971 and the detections accumulate as the time line progresses through the years, ending in 2006.

Department of Interior Gives Award to Aquifer Protection Program

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell presented a 2013 Partners in Conservation award to the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program. AGUA is one of the signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding that initiated development of the EARIP. AGUA contributed throughout the development process, which began in 2006 and culminated in production of a Habitat Conservation Plan in 2012.

For more about this award, read the press release.

Feds finalize 4,200 acres of critical Bexar County habitat

Because of an AGUA lawsuit, 4,200 acres of Bexar County endangered species habitat is permanently protected. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced the the land has been finally designated as critical habitat for nine rare, cave-dwelling invertebrates.

This announcement reverses and expands a previous Bush-era critical habitat designation of about 1,000 acres, which left out a number of places where the species live and failed to protect sufficient area around the caves.

For more information about the habitat designation, click here.

AGUA lawsuit may protect 7,000 Bexar County acres

Because of an AGUA lawsuit, nearly 7,000 acres of Bexar County endangered species habitat may soon be permanently protected. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it is proposing to designate the land as critical habitat for nine rare, cave-dwelling invertebrates.

For more information about the habitat designation, including maps, click here.

AGUA moves for injunction on US 281/Loop 1604 highway project

AGUA has filed a motion for preliminary injunction, and requested a hearing, in its federal lawsuit over Alamo RMA's US 281/Loop 1604 highway expansion project. The toll road agency plans to construct $145 million worth of new traffic lanes, flyovers, and access ramps beginning in January. More information.

AGUA sues over US 281/Loop 1604 highway project

AGUA has filed a federal lawsuit to protect the Edwards Aquifer and endangered species living in the Aquifer’s recharge zone. It names as defendants the Federal Highway Administration, Amadeo Saenz, Jr. (TxDoT), the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Terry Brechtel (Alamo RMA). More information.

AGUA wins victory in lawsuit to protect endangered species

AGUA settled a lawsuit to protect 12 endangered species found only in the Edwards Aquifer and its recharge zone. The settlement with US Fish & Wildlife Service is a major victory for endangered species and the aquifer.
Press release and more information

Castle Rock development settlement reached

GEAA and San Geronimo Valley Alliance (SGVA) announced a settlement agreement was finalized between SGVA and BP Properties, Ltd. regarding the proposed Hills of Castle Rock development located ten miles northwest of Helotes. More...

PGA Village to open

The controversial PGA Village golf resort will open January 22, 2010. In recognition, AGUA has assembled a before and after comparison of this sensitive recharge zone land. See and read more...

Council upzones huge tract over aquifer

City Council voted to upzone the 390-acre Steubing Ranch development over the aquifer recharge zone. The rezoning increases allowable impervious cover on the land from 30% to 43%. Read more...

EAA moves toward 20% impervious limit

The Edwards Aquifer Authority has directed its staff to write rules limiting impervious cover to 20% over the recharge and contributing zones. Read the press release.

Camp Bullis area development approved

San Antonio's Planning Commission approved a 335-acre subdivsion in the Camp Bullis buffer zone on 7/8/2009. Read all the facts here.

Which candidates will protect your drinking water?

AGUA quizzed the 2009 slate of City Council candidates to find out how committed they were to protecting the aquifer. Answers to questions such as "Do developers have the right to the highest possible return on their investment?" can be found by clicking here.

The Unforeseen on DVD

This documentary chronicles the saga of a developer planning a 4,000 acre subdivision that threatened Austin's Barton Springs. When the community fought back, it sparked one of the nation’s earliest and most important environmental movements. $21.95 at The Cinema Guild

AGUA files suit to protect endangered species

AGUA and two other organizations filed suit to protect endangered species found only in the Edwards Aquifer and its recharge zone. The suit alleges that Fish and Wildlife Service designated far too little critical habitat to conserve the species. Read more...

City protects 89 acres over the Aquifer

City Council, on October 16th, approved the acquisition of a conservation easement on 83 acres of land located in the Edwards Contributing and Recharge Zones (see map). Read more about this land, and how it was protected.

AGUA lawsuit forces EIS for highway over aquifer

Responding to revelations from an AGUA lawsuit, the Federal Highway Administration withdrew its environmental clearance for the US 281 toll project in Bexar County. It is believed the move resulted from a TxDOT whistleblower's email showing a biologist at TxDOT hired her own husband to "fix" the environmental study for 281. Read more...

3rd Annual Tin-Foil Hat Party

AGUA's annual fundraiser featured the usual assortment of creative hats and great live music. More...

AGUA intends to sue developer for taking Golden-cheeked warblers

AGUA, along with 3 other organizations, has filed a Notice of Intent to Sue a developer for destroying endangered Golden-cheeked warbler habitat near Camp Bullis. Read about the action here.

Council gives away impervious cover to developer

City Council voted June 20th to increase impervious cover from 30 to 42% on highly vulnerable recharge zone land. AGUA spoke against this case, advocating that the impervious cover remain at 30%. More...

AGUA sues to halt toll road

AGUA and TURF have joined in filing a federal lawsuit asking that the US 281 toll road project be stopped pending full compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. More...

Council approves land acquisition to protect aquifer

On January 10, 2008, San Antonio City Council unanimously approved the purchase of development rights on 2,251 acres in Uvalde County as part of the Edwards Aquifer Land Acquisition program. More...

Council votes down bus transit facility over aquifer

On December 6th, City Council voted against an annexation/rezoning that would have paved the way for a VIA Metro transit park over a sensitive area of the aquifer recharge zone. More... and more...

Council rezones recharge land at 73% impervious

A rezoning will bring intense, high-impervious commercial development to vulnerable land near Loop 1604 and Hausman Road. More...

Grass-roots groups get standing to contest SAWS expansion

A judge granted legal standing to several citizens and environmental groups opposing SAWS' service area expansion far into sensitive areas of the Hill Country. More...

Citizens speak out on SAWS utility expansion over aquifer

Forty citizens spoke out at a meeting about SAWS' plan to extend its service area far into the Hill Country. Almost everyone in the audience expressed concerns with the planned expansion. Read more...

Bexar Met finds contaminants in aquifer

Bexar Met Water District Hill Country reports that ethylbenzene and xylene were found in its drinking water supply in 2006. However, levels were well below the Maximum Contaminant Level set by the EPA.

Council rezones Kyle-Seale ranchland

City Council rezoned land over the aquifer recharge zone to allow high intensity commercial development, but imposed a 50% impervious cover limit.

Grandfathering rejected in case that AGUA helped fight

An appeals court has overturned a ruling which upheld a developer's grandfathering claim, and sent the case back to lower court. AGUA had filed a appeals court brief against the unfounded grandfathering claim. The developer was claiming to be exempt from drainage regulations, the tree ordinance, and all other development rules adopted in the last 25 years.
AGUA press release (Jan. 9, 2007)
Brief of Amici Curae filed by AGUA and Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance

AGUA sues to protect the Golden-cheeked warbler

AGUA has filed a federal lawsuit to protect the Golden-cheeked warbler and San Geronimo Valley. It alleges that the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by issuing a construction permit for the Cagnon to Kendall transmission line. Read more...

´Til Your Well Runs Dry

How the State of Texas Converted the Edwards Aquifer into a Multi-Million Dollar Commodity. An eye-opening report on the millions that private Edwards permit holders have spent lobbying the legislature. Read the report.

Authority votes not to transfer pumping rights across creek

Water marketer wanted to sell water to Kyle and a utility district.

Texas water plan ignores global warming, scientist warns

Climate changes will raise temperatures, possibly cut rainfall, A&M professor says. More...

Council approves changes to PGA Resort deal

In an 8-3 vote, City Council gave a time extension and Edwards Aquifer water to developers of the PGA golf resort over the Edwards Aquifer.
Developer Asking City Council to Sweeten PGA Tour Deal

City Council rejects grandfathering claim

The City Council, taking a path that could lead to a court fight over environmental protection rules, denied a developer's grandfathering claim on a 1,700-acre aquifer recharge zone tract. More...

Injunction filed to stop 281 toll road

AGUA and People for Efficient Transportation, Inc. filed an injunction in federal court today asking that work on converting US 281 to a toll road be stopped. More...

AGUA sues to stop toll road over recharge zone

AGUA and People for Efficient Transportation filed a lawsuit to stop expansions of U.S. 281 and Loop 1604 north of San Antonio. More...

AGUA presses for stronger aquifer rules

AGUA announced its revisions to San Antonio's Aquifer Protection Ordinance and urged City Council to quickly adopt the needed protections. More...