SAN ANTONIO – The Fourth Court of Appeals rendered a decision in the Williams v. GBRA case, holding that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to bring their lawsuit against GBRA. In doing so, the Court of Appeals relied on long-standing Texas precedent and affirmed the 274th District Court decision to grant GBRA’s plea to the jurisdiction as to the majority of the plaintiffs’ claims and expanded that decision to include the two takings claims.
The 274th District Court granted GBRA’s plea to the jurisdiction with the exception of the two taking claims on August 20, 2020. After hearing arguments in the case on June 17, 2021, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision on the taking claims, finding that the appellants could not demonstrate a particularized injury apart from the community at large absent ownership of a property right in the hydro dams, the lands underneath the lakes, or the water itself. With the decision, the Court of Appeals remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
“We are pleased with today’s timely and decisive decision from the Court of Appeals,” said GBRA General Manager and CEO Kevin Patteson. “The decision further demonstrates that cooperation and collaboration is the path forward for the Guadalupe Valley Lakes. The collective effort continues to yield results: Construction is underway on the Lake Dunlap dam with Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid to follow, thanks to the formation and voter confirmation of Water Control and Improvement Districts (WCIDs).”
Construction began on the Lake Dunlap dam in May 2021 with a 24 month estimated timeline for completion, pending unforeseen weather delays. Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid are currently in the design phase with final design anticipated to be completed in November 2021. GBRA has secured $40 million in bond funding at below market interest rates on behalf of each project through the Texas Water Development Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
About the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority
The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) provides reliable high-quality water and wastewater treatment services, conserves and protects the Guadalupe River Basin, generates hydroelectric power, manages recreational areas, offers laboratory services, and creates educational programming while planning for and supporting community growth and development. Established as a water conservation and reclamation district by the Texas Legislature in 1933, GBRA has evolved to serve as a leader and steward of the water resources across a 10-county statutory district. GBRA’s district begins near the headwaters of the Guadalupe and Blanco rivers and ends at San Antonio Bay, including Kendall, Comal, Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Gonzales, DeWitt, Victoria, Calhoun and Refugio counties.
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