When Texas Groundwater Districts Colllide with Municipal Water AuthoritiesSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

Senator Kip Averitt At Hearing

When Texas Groundwater Districts Colllide with Municipal Water Authorities

8 August 2008 at 10:27:23 AM

Saw an article this morning on a hearing that was held in Amarillo on Tuesday  by the Texas Senate Committee on Natural Resources. Kip Averitt (Senate District 22) chairs it. It's interesting to read because one can see how there could be issues in a lot of places in Texas now that the groundwater districts are being formed.  The two entities mentioned here are Canadian River Municipal Water Aiuthority, up near Pampa, and the new Groundwater Management Area One.

Satterwhite testified at the hearing that CRMWA had based its plans on the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District's more conservative one acre-foot per year pumping regime with a goal of 50 percent of the groundwater left at the end of 50 years.

North Plains Groundwater Conservation District has set a goal of 40 percent of the water in storage at the end of 50 years for its western counties where irrigated farming is widespread, but a more conservative 60 percent of the water in storage after 50 years for its eastern counties that wrap around the northern tier of counties in the Panhandle, including Ochiltree and Lipscomb.

While Danny Krienke of Perryton, the chairman of GMA1 and a board member of the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, testified that his district felt its primary objective was to protect agriculture in its rules, C.E. Williams, general manager of the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, testified that his district felt its priority was to conserve the groundwater for future generations.

“We've invested a lot of money in this project,” Satterwhite said. “The uncertainties involved with rule changes makes us nervous.”

Satterwhite said that CRMWA's project is part of the state water plan, and he asked the Senate committee to consider legislation that would protect projects in the state water plan from changes.

There have also been recent court cases involving historic uses of water rights. If the historic use of groundwater was for irrigation, then sale of those water rights could impact a municipal server such as CRMWA which could lose the use of certain water rights. Satterwhite said he would like to see some protection from those issues.

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