PAIGE, Texas (KXAN) — At a time when wells are running dry and much of Central Texas is under water restrictions, in Bastrop County a company is trying to expand its water supply by drilling for more wells.

Now people in the area are outraged.

‘It’s just devastating’

It’s something Diann Watson and her husband never expected to see.

“We’ve never been without water there. I mean it’s just devastating,” they said.

Water on their ranch in Paige is drying up, both on the surface and underground.

  • picture of dry land on a computer
  • picture of dry land on a computer
  • picture of dry land on a computer

“The shallowest well, which is 440 feet, has dropped 30 feet,” Diann said.

She said they started noticing this after landscaping company Thomas Turfgrass moved in next door. Diann said they saw changes like less water in wells and more runoff water on their land when it rained.

“When you get a half an inch, it just comes flooding rushing down,” she said. “All their debris.”

Diann said neighbors are now even more concerned after finding out the company is asking for permits to drill more wells.

“We got a letter saying that they had applied for 3,950 acre-feet and four wells,” she said.

Diann said shallow wells will be the first impacted.

“You really are dependent upon well water,” she said. “A lot of our neighbors have shallow wells.”

‘Reduced that request’

Seth Thomas, one of the owners of the company, said they’ve recently lowered their request.

“We’ve reduced that request down to 2,200 acre-feet,” Thomas said. “Instead of drilling four wells, we’re only going to drill two.”

Thomas acknowledged there would be a drawdown in other wells but he said it wouldn’t be severe.

“It’s not to the point to where, you know, it’s gonna go below where other people can’t still pump their water as well,” he said.

Still, Diann worries about the lasting impacts.

“The creeks are not running anymore. The Big Creek is not running at all,” Diann said.

Because without enough water, she and her neighbors won’t be able to support their land and livestock.

“If our wells go dry, then the only option is to sell the cattle,” she said.

An upcoming hearing

Ultimately, the decision to grant the permit is in the hands of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.

There is a hearing next Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Regarding the runoff water, Thomas said it may move faster from their land because of their irrigation.

He said by late October, they hope to have seeds and oats planted where a lot of the sand is to help prevent more runoff.