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Public hearing set for private dam permit on South Llano River

South Llano River

Waterstone Creek LLC is applying to build a private recreational dam across the South Llano River in Edwards County. Llano County residents and leaders are concerned that the permit's approval could lead to more private dams along the river. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is taking public comments on the matter until a hearing is held on Aug. 10. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is accepting public comments up until an Aug. 10 public hearing on a proposed private dam across the South Llano River. The hearing is at 6 p.m. in the Rocksprings ISD School Auditorium, 201 U.S. 377 North in Rocksprings. 

Although the dam would be more than a hundred miles from the city of Llano, Llano County commissioners voted in June 2022 to request a contested hearing on the matter and submitted formal opposition to any private dams being built along the Llano River.

“I think that everyone who can should go (to the hearing), but especially send in your comments and call your representatives,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Don Moss told “This could be one of the most important things for the long-run future of Llano.”

The river contributes a significant amount of water to the Highland Lakes, and recent drought conditions have heightened concerns about more dams being built if the one in question is approved. The proposed dam would be permitted to hold 12.02 acre-feet of water. For comparison, the entire city of Llano, with a population of about 3,400, is permitted to hold 700 acre-feet.

Waterstone Creek LLC applied for the permit to build a private recreational dam across the South Llano River in Edwards County in 2018. Public notice for the project was posted in May 2022. Water conservation advocates and residents in the Llano River watershed rallied to resist its approval once plans became public.

Building this dam would impact all of the communities in Llano County and possibly the Highland Lakes as a whole, said Moss, who represents the city of Llano on the Commissioners Court. The water from the Llano River feeds into Lake LBJ and eventually Lake Travis, which is the prime water source for Austin.

Public comments can be submitted by mail or online until the actual meeting. Enter the following in the search field to find the specific permit: WRPERM 13524. 

Comments may be submitted by mail to:

Office of the Chief Clerk, TCEQ

Mail Code MC-105

P.O. Box 13087

Austin, TX 78711-3087

To learn more about the Waterstone Creek permit application and the dam’s potential impact, visit the Llano River Watershed Alliance website, which has information pertaining to the dam, the application, and what can be done to stop it.