Regional Planning Update

In October, the Groundwater Management Area 1 (GMA 1) Joint Planning Committee will consider feedback received during the public comment period for the Desired Future Conditions (DFC) proposed back in April.

On April 20, 2016, GMA 1 representatives proposed to adopt DFCs for eighteen counties in the Texas Panhandle. A DFC is a quantitative description of the desired condition of the groundwater resources in a management area at one or more specified future times. GMA 1 is one of the sixteen groundwater management areas throughout the state and includes: Hemphill County Underground Water Conservation District, North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, and part of High Plains Underground Water Conservation District.  The Chairman, or the chairman’s designee, of each of these four districts comprise the voting membership of the GMA 1.  The map below shows the district boundaries within GMA 1.

GMA 1 Regional Planning Water Districts

Texas law requires that every five years, the districts consider groundwater availability models and other data or information for the management area and propose DFCs for adoption for the relevant aquifers within a management area. The DFC adopted for each major aquifer must be incorporated into the State Water Plan through the regional water planning process, incorporated into district management plans, and where appropriate, incorporated into district rules. For the current round of joint planning, the districts must adopt DFCs for the relevant aquifers within a management area after considering nine factors, as follows:

(1)  aquifer uses or conditions within the management area, including conditions that differ substantially from one geographic area to another;

(2)  the water supply needs and water management strategies included in the state water plan;

(3)  hydrological conditions, including for each aquifer in the management area the total estimated recoverable storage as provided by the executive administrator, and the average annual recharge, inflows, and discharge;

(4) other environmental impacts, including impacts on spring flow and other interactions between groundwater and surface water;

(5)  the impact on subsidence;

(6)  socioeconomic impacts reasonably expected to occur;

(7)  the impact on the interests and rights in private property, including ownership and the rights of management area landowners and their lessees and assigns in groundwater as recognized. The legislature recognizes that a landowner owns the groundwater below the surface of the landowner’s land as real property;

(8)  the feasibility of achieving the desired future condition; and

(9)  any other information relevant to the specific desired future conditions.

After considering and documenting each of the factors described above and other relevant scientific and hydrogeological data at multiple meetings respectively, the districts are statutorily allowed to establish different desired future conditions for:

(1)  each aquifer, subdivision of an aquifer, or geologic strata located in whole or in part within the boundaries of the management area; or

(2)  each geographic area overlying an aquifer in whole or in part or subdivision of an aquifer within the boundaries of the management area.

Each of the districts received public comments for the 90-day period beginning May 13, 2016 and ending August 15, 2016, on the proposed DFCs.  The proposed DFCs for the District are:   

  1. Ogallala Aquifer and Rita Blanca Aquifer DFCs:
  2. Management Zone 1: Dallam, Hartley, Sherman and Moore Counties – At least 40% of the volume in storage remaining in 50 Years for the period 2012 – 2062;
  3. Management Zone 2: Hansford, Hutchison, Ochiltree and Lipscomb Counties – At least 50% of the volume in storage remaining in 50 Years for the period 2012 – 2062; and
  4. Dockum Aquifer DFCs – At least 40% of the available drawdown remaining in 50 Years for the period 2012 – 2062 for Dallam, Hartley, Moore and Sherman Counties, Texas.

The District conducted a public hearing concerning the District’s intent to adopt proposed DFCs on July 19, 2016. 

After considering each district’s summary of public feedback and any additional input, the Joint Planning Committee can adopt the DFC or propose a different DFC.  Final adoption of a DFC should occur in October 2016, provided that GMA 1 adopts the initial proposal.  GMA 1 will prepare an explanatory summary to the TWDB and forward it along with the newly adopted DFCs within sixty days.

To review information on the proposed desired future conditions (“DFCs”) for the Groundwater Management Area 1 aquifers, see the link below.
View All DFC Documents