Austin and the Austin environmental community lost a beloved leader and friend yesterday when long-time Austin Environmental Commission Chair Dr. Mary Gay Maxwell died in a tragic auto accident in Smithville. Dr. Maxwell was travelling from visiting family in Houston to a civic gathering in Austin. In the late 1990s Dr. Maxwell, a mental health counselor, joined the Save Our Springs Alliance Board of Directors. In 1999, during a time of difficulty, Dr. Maxwell stepped in as SOS's full time volunteer executive director.
Dr. Maxwell shown here receiving an award from Brigid Shea and Bill Bunch for her service to SOS
A loosely knit coalition of interest groups from across central Texas opposing San Antonio's proposed $3.4 billion, 142-mile long "Vista Ridge" water pipe and pumping project gained steam this past week when a San Antonio City Council commissioned study on water planning that had been suppressed was leaked to the media. The report is critical of the project, concluding that the water supply is "high risk" due to a number of factors. Read the leaked report and the Rivard Report's summary of the situation here.
"Oppose-the-hose" forces include the League of Independent Voters of Texas(with a solid base in the counties east and north of Austin where private water sellers, including San Antonio's contract partner, Abengoa, would pump the water), San Antonio environmental, social justice, and fiscal watchdog groups (including Alamo Sierra Club, and others), and conservation groups across the region (Save Our Springs, San Marcos River Foundation, Clean Water Action, etc) Watch for more big news on this front tomorrow and in the days ahead.