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Edwards Aquifer Protection Program

For inquiries, contact Philip Bedford, Land Conservation & Stewardship Manager at philip@greensatx.org

Click Here for a PDF copy of our one page flyer on the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program

The Edwards Aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for more than 2 million people in south central Texas. In 2000, the citizens of San Antonio recognized the need to protect this unique resource that is so vital for health, recreation, and economic growth and approved a 1/8-cent local sales tax to fund the identification and purchase of sensitive properties over the aquifer. The properties ranged in size from 42 to 1,164 acres, located primarily in north central and northwest Bexar County.

The City of San Antonio selected Green Spaces Alliance – along with The Nature Conservancy of Texas and the Trust for Public Land – to help implement Proposition Three. Green Spaces Alliance’s work on the project resulted in the acquisition of more than 1,800 acres of aquifer-protecting parkland for the public.

In 2005, 2010, and again in 2015, San Antonio’s voters approved another 1/8-cent sales tax to fund the protection of the Edwards Aquifer. Under Proposition One, the City of San Antonio was authorized to purchase conservation easements  on private property located over the sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone in Bexar, Medina, and Uvalde Counties.

At the start of the program, a team of experts developed scientific criteria — geological, biological, and hydrological — to evaluate which land was most valuable to the goal of aquifer protection. The City of San Antonio then selected two land agencies — Green Spaces Alliance and Texas Nature Conservancy — to work with landowners who wished to participate in the City of San Antonio program by placing conservation easements on their property in willing seller-willing buyer transactions. The sales tax revenues fund the due diligence activities associated with the evaluations – appraisals, surveys, and environmental baseline documentation – as well as payments to the landowners to purchase their development rights and support for the program’s administrative costs, including monitoring to ensure easement compliance over time.

The total area protected by the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program exceeds 133,447 acres.  Green Spaces’ work on Proposition One has helped protect more than 48,000 of those acres.  One of the protected properties – the Record Buck Ranch – includes the Seco Sinkhole, which contributes hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to the aquifer every year.

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