One of the biggest threats to the health of the Barton Springs ecosystem is major employers who move their operations into the Barton Springs watershed.
Major employers bring with them additional commercial development and spur residential development for employees who want to live closer to work, especially as gas prices rise. The net result is a population and development boom over our most fragile water resource. The increased demand for housing and commercial services only increases land values, thereby diminishing any funding for land conservation.
Most large companies in the Austin area have respected our community's three decades long intention to keep major employers in Austin's Desired Development Zone and away from the fragile Drinking Water Protection Zone and specifically the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) recently bucked public opinion and public policy guidance by moving their operations out of the Desired Development Zone and into the Barton Springs watershed, where they have built an 860,000 square foot complex. For comparison, the Frost Bank tower downtown is about 500,000 square feet.
We encourage companies to locate in Austin responsibly. AMD instead was irresponsible with their location, and consequently polluted the waterways of the Barton Springs watershed with dirty runoff after a relatively minor rain event.