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Desired Future Conditions 101

Here's a handy summary of what the Desired Future Conditions controversy is all about, and how to get involved.


"WaterDefenders" believes sustainable management is the way to protect our local communities from groundwater over-pumping!

 If you live in Central Texas, we believe that the water in your well, the water under your land, the water in our rivers and streams, and the public water supply for you or your town are at risk.    

Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know:   

Groundwater  in the state of Texas is managed by Groundwater Conservation Districts [GCDs],          

  • The Conservation Amendment of the Texas Constitution makes clear that the conservation and development of the natural resources of Texas, including its water, are public rights and duties, with groundwater districts authorized to accomplish those goals.     
  • GCDs are assigned to Groundwater Management Areas [GMAs] for planning purposes.         
  • Our Groundwater Management Area is GMA-12 and includes the following Groundwater Districts and counties:    

Lost Pines GCD – Bastrop and Lee Counties  

(August 18, 2021 hearing/comment deadline not announced yet)  

Post Oak Savannah GCD –Burleson and Milam Counties  

(comments due July 23, 2021)  

Brazos Valley GCD –Brazos and Robertson Counties  

(comments due by July 26, 2021)  

Fayette County GCD – FayetteCounty  

(comments due by August 23, 2021)  

Mid-East Texas GCD –Freestone, Leon and Madison Counties  

(comments due by July 19, 2021) 

Every five-years, the Groundwater Districts in the GMAs must plan 50-years into the future and express their “desired future conditions” [DFCs] for the groundwater they manage.  

  • The districts in GMA-12 express the DFCs as “average drawdown (ft) for an entire aquifer” over a 50-year period.  
  • The districts in GMA-12 have proposed DFCs that significantly increase these drawdowns,  previously set in 2017.  
  • If adopted, the proposed DFC would be in effect  through 2027.   
  • The Texas Water Code  states that DFCs must demonstrate a balance between production of  groundwater and conservation of the aquifer, after members of GMA-12 have considered and documented nine factors, including, for example, protection of  groundwater users, and the impacts of the DFC on surface waters, i.e., rivers and streams. 

WaterDefenders has reviewed the proposed DFCs and believes the proposed DFCs are not balanced, because they:    

  • are a "one size fits all” proposal that favors maximum production by big pumpers at the expense of other interests. 
  • threaten to dry up hundreds of domestic and livestock wells in each GCD.
  • will reduce or stop essential inflows of groundwater that feed our rivers and streams during drought.  
  • were imposed on individual GCDs,based on assumptions that result in at least one district being prevented  from managing the aquifers in its district according to its pre-existing, approved management plan.  

WaterDefenders is asking each GCD to reject the proposed DFCs in favor of "desired future conditions" based on:    

  • sustainable and effective management of the aquifers,  
  • protection of domestic and livestock wells, and  
  • sustaining the resilience of our rivers and streams to withstand drought

  Here's what you can do:

  • Contact the board members of your Groundwater Conservation District and tell them that the “Proposed DFCs” should be rejected and sent back for revision.  
  • Here is the message we would like for you to help us deliver to the five Districts: 

Please vote to reject the proposed DFCs because they will unreasonably impact our groundwater, our communities, and our rivers, springs, and streams. You still have time to do what the law requires you to do: achieve a balance between the conservation and protection of our water resources — our groundwater and our surface water systems — and the development of those resources. 

Good planning requires agreement on management policies to guide the development of Desired Future Conditions. The districts were unable to agree on unified management policies that are workable for all the districts, and have provided proposed DFCs based on controversial and flawed principles. 

The proposed DFCs for GMA-12 protect only permit holders —the big pumpers — by adopting drawdowns that allow them to pump to the limits of their permits, while local domestic and livestock wells are left high and dry. Whether or not a groundwater district mitigates failed local wells or not, the proposed DFCs unreasonably impact our aquifers. Likewise, the proposed DFCs will deprive our surface water systems of the inflows from aquifers that they depend on, especially during drought. It is your duty to do the work to achieve the required balance! 

Keep in mind that the Board of Directors of each GCD are the final decision-makers in these matters.

  • Email/post written comments to your GCD before their specific comment period ends. You are also free to submit comments to other GCDs and ask them to act on behalf  of the entire GMA-12 and its members. 
  • Go here for hearing information, contacts, deadlines, and guidelines for preparing your comments to the five Groundwater Conservation Districts. 
  • Attend the last remaining GCD  hearing, in the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District on August 18 at the Bastrop Convention Center, 6 p.m. 
  •  Ask your local officials  (City and County) to send comments to your GCD.  
  • Call your Texas legislators and ask them to send comments to your GCD.  
  • Sign up here for the Environmental Stewardship newsletter to get updates sent to you.  
  • Sign up here for the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund News blog.  
  • Attend the last remaining GCD  hearing in the Lost Pines GCD (Bastrop and Lee counties)...AND

 Please make a tax-deductible donation to our efforts.



If you have questions or would like to share your efforts, please contact us at: